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On January 20, 2015, in partnerships with the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Export Development Canada, the Business Development Bank of Canada, and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, hosted an export workshop geared towards empowering small and medium-sized enterprises with updated information about current international business opportunities in export. More than 90 people were present, including two representatives from Culture Magazin©, Ms. Ann Nguyen, Editor-in-Chief and Mr. Nathan Tonthat, CEO of CultureRUs Corporation. Five other similar export workshops were held across Canada since the initiative launched in November 2014.

Minister Ed Fast speaks at Go Global event
Minister Ed Fast speaks at Go Global event

At the workshop, several key topics surrounding global trade were discussed. The topic that got the most attention was the effects of Canada’s entry in the Canada-Korean Free Trade Agreement. Canada is expected to reap considerable benefits from this new global network. Consider these important statistics:

  • One in five Canadian jobs is dependent on exports.
  • Currently, 41,000 out of more than one million small-to-medium sized enterprises are engaging in global export.
  • Annual average merchandise export figure between Ontario and South Korea from 2010-2012 is $548.5 million.

The new trade agreement with Korea will open new markets for Ontario businesses, most prominently in the areas of industrial goods, aerospace, life sciences, metals and minerals, chemicals and plastics, textiles and apparel, automotive products, agricultural products, food manufacturing, ecommerce, telecommunications, and many more.

At the workshop, Todd Winterhalt, Vice President of International Business Development Group and Export Development Canada forecasted – based on solid statistics – that the Canada-Korean Free Trade Agreement will result in a 30% increase in Korean exports in the next few years.

Minister Fast speaks with Jayson Myers, CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, during a Go Global event
Minister Fast speaks with Jayson Myers, CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, during a Go Global event

When asked by Culture Magazin©: Which export industries are Canada’s strongest trades? Mr. Winterhalt mentioned sectors such as natural resources, metals, mining technology and equipment, energy, processed food, communication and technology. He further shared his list of today’s top four most promising Southeast Asian markets. Indonesia takes the number one spot, followed by Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. Although he believes Vietnam still has a bit of catching up to do, it does have the potential to become a very strong emerging country in exports.

Mr. Winterhalt’s advice to small-to- medium size enterprises seeking to enter the import and export arena is to take advantage of the assistance from the Trade Commissioner Service. It can provide businesses with valuable market intelligence and global connections. In addition, Export Development Canada can help with risk assessment, and the Business Development Bank of Canada can help with business planning and market entry strategy. So, at any stage, businesses will always have the right resources and supportive tools from the government of Canada to reap success