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Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


TFO Canada Celebrates 35 Years assisting Exporters in Developing Countries

Thursday, May 21, 2015 > 16:54:11

TFO Canada Celebrates 35 years of Assisting Developing Countries’ Exporters Access the Canadian Marketplace


Ottawa, ON (May 20, 2015) –Today, TFO Canada celebrates 35 years of helping exporters from developing countries access the Canadian marketplace. Founded in 1980 by an act of parliament, TFO Canada has been the primary Canadian provider of information, advice and buyer contacts for exporters in developing and transition economies.

Trade Facilitation Office Canada/Bureau de promotion du commerce Canada (TFOC/BPCC) was established in 1980 as Canada’s response to a commitment made to the UN in the late 1970’s to demonstrate our support for growing trade capacity in the developing world.  The vehicle for delivery was the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development-General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (UNCTAD-GATT) and TFO Canada based its client list strictly on those identified under the GATT as Least Developing Countries (LDCs) and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).

In May of 1980, the Trade Facilitation Office Canada came into existence as part of the former Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) with two staff members: Kenneth Ramsay as executive director and Lynne Thomson as counsellor. In 1985 the organization was incorporated as a non-for-profit and remains so to this day.

Lynne Thomson, TFO Canada’s inaugural employee recently shared that “TFO Canada left an undeniable mark on my life.  Not only the people I met in the 44 countries to which I travelled, but the success stories we generated and the pride we felt, as a small team, every time a sale was made or a new importer signed up to take a look at our sample drawer.”   

Some key accomplishments since 1980 include:

  • First international trade mission in 1983 to five ASEAN Countries

  • Over 8,000 export offers have been added to TFO Canada’s database since 1980

  • TFO Canada’s searchable “Supplier Database” was made public and placed on its website in 2006

  • 200 African businesswomen have been trained in exporting through TFO Canada programs

  • Export sales valued approximately CAD$ 4 million through TFO Canada activities in 2012-2014

  • Commenced implementing a $10 million Canadian Market Access and Capacity Building Program with funds from DFATD in January 2014

  • Created two new guides in 2014 on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental management systems (EMS) as part of TFO Canada’s publications listings

  • Exporter trade mission to the SIAL Toronto 2015 tradeshow included 70 companies from 8 countries that showcased 193 products

“When I reflect on the past 35 years of TFO Canada, the mandate we had in 1980 on confronting the challenge of global poverty by promoting sustainable economic development through trade with developing countries is still very relevant in 2015,” says Steve Tipman, Executive Director. “Looking ahead, TFO Canada will continue to play the role of strategic partner that serves small and medium sized exporting companies and helps them to establish strong links with Canadian firms.”

Today, TFO Canada continues to help developing countries access the Canadian market with the core goal of reducing poverty, encouraging gender equality and governance, and preserving the environment. With a team of 10 staff members, the organization is serving exporters and their respective trade support institutions through its services and facilitating exporter contacts with Canadian buyers.

More about TFO Canada: TFO Canada confronts the challenge of global poverty by promoting sustainable economic development through export information, advice and contact. TFO Canada facilitates access to the Canadian marketplace and shares Canadian trade expertise for the benefit of smaller exporters in developing countries. Founded in 1980, TFO Canada is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation. For more information about TFO Canada please visit our website at www.tfocanada.ca

Media Contact

Clarecia Christie

TFO Canada

1 613 233-3925


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