Food, agri firms urged: Explore opportunities in Canada market
Cebuano agri-business and food companies are encouraged to tap the potentially huge export market in Canada.
The Canadian Chamber of the Philippines (CanCham) will be holding its 6th Outbound Trade Mission to two cities in Canada — Toronto and Ottawa this coming October 20 to 27.
According to CanCham Philippines President and Chief Executive Adviser Julian Payne, they have observed a growing market in Canada for the export of Philippine products.
“Canadians drink coffee. No coffee is going to Canada. There’s a big market for coffee in Canada. Canadians eat chocolate and Canada doesn’t produce cacao. Therefore, there’s a market for chocolate in Canada,” Payne said in an interview yesterday.
“Virgin coconut oil, that’s another market. We don’t plant coconuts in Canada,” he added.
The CanCham is targeting around 20 Philippine companies including Cebu companies in the agri-business, food, and related industries to join the trade mission.
Among those they’re considering are food processors and exporters; agri-business, agri-tourism facilities, farm owners; solution providers for agri and food production; food franchisees and franchisers; businessmen and professionals with interest on food and agri-business ventures; operators of industrial estates and special eco-zones looking for locators; and local government executives promoting their locality for investors.
During the trade mission, participating firms can expect to learn about the market and opportunities for their business in Canada; learn about the Canadian regulatory landscape for business; identify business leads and make connections in Canada.
Payne explained that the schedule for the trade mission was intentionally timed to coincide with two major events in Canada — the Grocery Innovations Canada in Toronto on October 23 and 24, and the 9th Annual Food Regulatory and Quality Assurance Summit in Toronto on October 24 and 25.
“The Grocery Conference is important because it will be attended by grocery associations in Canada which buy products, and we’re trying to sell Philippine products. Some of which are already known in Canada, and some of which are not yet known,” Payne said.
On the other hand, the Food Regulatory and Quality Assurance Summit will be attended by government representatives from different provinces of Canada.
Payne said that this is important since Canada is a federal country which means food regulatory rules and guidelines differ in each province.
Based on their program of activities, the delegation will be spending five days in Toronto and two days in Ottawa.
They will also be visiting the Philippine Embassy in Canada, the Trade Facilitation Office in Canada, the Export Development Canada, Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, Ontario Investment Services, Toronto Region Board of Trade, and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce in Toronto, among others.
The CanCham has been holding the trade mission five times already in previous years with a focus on different industries including real estate, information communications technology, and agri-business for three editions already seeing that this is the sector with the biggest potential.
Based on records from the CanCham, total imports by Canada from the Philippines amounted to around $1 billion 2017.
Although the amount is still small, Payne said it is much higher compared to previous years.
Among all the countries that export to Canada, the Philippines is still at 34th place. Top exporting countries into Canada are the United States of America, China, Mexico, and Germany.
“Canada is not yet a major trading partner of the Philippines. But there is great potential for it to go up in both ways,” Payne said.
The growing Filipino community in Canada is also a significant factor in improving trade relations between the two countries.
Payne said there are roughly around 800,000 Filipinos in Canada. Of the number, around 300,000 are located in the capital city of Ontario which is a major contributor to the country’s gross domestic product at 30 percent.
Filipino communities in Canada are paving the way for the introduction of more Filipino products like dried mangoes and other dried food which are also becoming more popular among Canadian residents.
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