Industry opportunities in the United States exist for Alberta industry in areas such as agri-food, aerospace, oil and gas, ict, life sciences, green building products, and cleantech.

Agriculture and Agri-foods

The U.S. is Alberta’s primary market for agriculture and agri-food exports at $4.2 billion in 2017. That same year, the U.S. imported approximately $190 billion of agriculture and agri-food products globally.

Due to size of market, proximity, preferential trade access, and integrated supply chains, Alberta’s agriculture and agri-food sector is highly integrated with the U.S. The U.S. also represents the largest export market for Alberta’s value-added agri-food products, such as manufactured food products or other advanced agricultural goods.

The U.S. is a mature food market and highly competitive, yet it continues to diversify. Due to its size and purchasing power, the U.S. will continue to be a top priority destination for Alberta’s agri-food exporters.

Aerospace and Defense

The U.S. aerospace and defense market is the largest in the world, with approximately US$870 billion worth of sales in 2016, and helped support approximately 2.4 million jobs in U.S., both directly in the sector and through supply chains. That same year, the U.S. aerospace and defense industry contributed US$147 billion in export sales to the U.S. economy.

In 2017, the U.S. imported approximately $39.9 billion worth of aerospace products (including aircraft, helicraft, Unmanned Vehicle Systems (UVS) and parts.

The U.S. Unmanned Vehicle Systems (UVS) industry is increasingly looking to Alberta companies for the latest innovations. In May 2018, Alberta and Nevada signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on autonomous unmanned systems to enhance cooperation and identify mutually beneficial business opportunities in this sector.

With Alberta’s growing capabilities in the aerospace sector, the U.S. serves as a natural first-choice for Alberta companies.

Alberta has led a number of trade missions to the U.S. to support this sector, including the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s Xponential event in May 2018.

Oil and Gas - Equipment, Services and Technologies

Oil and gas equipment and services exports to the U.S. could increase in importance, as the U.S. expands energy production and related infrastructure. Many Alberta companies already enjoy strong linkages with partners and supply chains that cross the Canada – U.S. border.

Planned U.S. investment in energy infrastructure (pipelines, storage, facilities, transmission and distribution lines) is estimated to be valued at US$1.3 trillion dollars over the next 15 years.

With significant opportunity in the U.S., Alberta’s competitive advantage in this sector, and Alberta’s innovation in developing new technologies, the U.S. is a natural first step for Alberta companies looking to grow their businesses beyond Alberta.

Alberta leads and coordinates the Canadian Pavilion at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston every year.


In recent years, the U.S. ICT market has benefitted from stable economic growth and robust private consumption, which was helped by wage growth, employment gains and decreased energy prices.

The main growth drivers include emerging technologies with connectivity, including digital assistants and 3D printing, augmented/virtual reality, autonomous vehicles and medical and sports technologies.

Alberta has growing capabilities in this sector, particularly related to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Alberta undertakes missions to CES (formerly the Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas to peruse opportunities for investment attraction and partnerships and to expand ICT exports to the United States.

Life Sciences

As populations in western economies continue to age, so will the demand of healthcare products and services. With a large population, high incomes, and focus on innovation, the U.S. health care sector will continue to be large consumer of technologies, goods and services. In the U.S. Life sciences companies are converging on markets with concentrations of scientific talent, amid deep-seated growth drivers and industry disruption. The U.S. features a strong life sciences sector with a growing number of clusters in Boston-Cambridge, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco-San Jose.

In 2017, the U.S. imported approximately $120 billion worth of pharmaceutical products and approximately $29 billion in medical devices.

Alberta continues to establish partnerships with U.S.-based multi-national companies to establish strong links between Alberta researchers, entrepreneurs, and global value chains. Additionally, Alberta and its major cities and universities are focusing on the sector and developing clusters on medical research and innovation.

Since 2011, GoA has invested $11.26 million in health innovation collaborations with multinational biopharmaceutical companies, with a total value of $28.35 million. These industry collaborations have attracted investments from Alberta Innovates ($500,000), the Government of Canada ($1.9 million), philanthropic or health innovation organizations ($4.13 million), and the pharmaceutical industry ($10.57 million).

Alberta has attended large, internationally focused events, such as the BIO International Convention and the MedTech Conference (Science & Innovation), to highlight Alberta’s innovation ecosystem and the leveraged investments being made by large multi-national firms and the Government of Alberta.

Green Building Products

The green building market is anticipated to be among the fastest growing industries worldwide. In 2017, the U.S. imported approximately $138 billion in forestry and value-added wood products.

The construction sector in the U.S. is anticipated to grow significantly in the near term, and there is an increasing focus on environmentally friendly products and services.

The number of LEED-certified projects in the United States rose from 296 certifications in 2006 up to over 65,000 in 2017.

Alberta’s building products sector has a proven track record for innovation. In 2015, Alberta was ranked first in Canada of “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” certified space, per resident, and has demonstrated a concerted emphasis on the U.S. for export growth.


The U.S has one of the largest environmental and clean technology sectors in the world, with an estimated market size of approximately US$290 billion. The sector is estimated to support approximately 1.63 million jobs and produced approximately $330 billion in revenue, the majority of which is focused on providing services.

With growing demand in the U.S. from large companies and the public sector to reduce their environmental footprint, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and managing wastewater, there are significant opportunities for Alberta-based companies looking to develop new technologies to tackle these issues

Additionally, a number of U.S. states are looking into transition their power generation capacity into cleaner sources, an area of interest for Alberta as well.

Owing to Alberta’s competitive strengths in this sector, and the size of the U.S. market, the U.S. is a natural starting point for Alberta companies looking to take their products and services abroad.