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Trade News

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 Marks 30 Years of Helping Developing Country Enterprises Export and Grow

Monday, October 25, 2010 > 10:02:21

20 October 2010: OTTAWA. What do Ethiopian handloom weavers, banana growers in Ecuador, and Caribbean furniture manufacturers have in common?  They are among the scores of small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries benefiting from the technical assistance and export advice provided by the Ottawa-based Trade Facilitation Office of Canada (TFO Canada).

Established by the federal government in 1980, the non-profit TFO Canada has been delivering ‘Aid through Trade’ using the Canadian marketplace and Canadian trade expertise as tools to help entrepreneurs in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America find buyers in Canada and overseas.

Take Caribbean Exotics.  An exporter of guava, papaya and tamarillo tropical fruits and a recent beneficiary of TFO Canada’s trade information and market contact services.  What started as a trade mission to Canada in 2009 to assist Colombian exporters prepare for the recently negotiated Free Trade Agreement has resulted in Caribbean Exotics sending up to four shipments a month to Canada.

“Breaking into new markets requires time and perseverance,” notes operations manager Alejandro Angel.  “TFO put an expert in fresh produce at our disposal.  This helped us understand the Canadian market and assemble an export strategy.”  The company’s Canadian and other export activities currently support 380 family farms in the Antioquia province of Colombia.

Since January 2009 TFO Canada has assisted more than 1,500 exporters from approximately 100 developing countries, primarily through its on-line Canadian market trade information service (www.tfocanada.ca) as well as through on-site trade development projects funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.  TFO Canada also works closely with in-country development agencies and business support organisations.

Developing country exporters and the employment they generate aren’t the only winners of these new trade links.  Canadian importers and consumers also benefit from a more diversified supply of innovative, quality products from around the globe.

In 2008, for example, Quebec retailer Simons participated in a TFO Canada trade mission to link garment and textile companies in Peru with Canadian buyers.  Today, Canadians can purchase Peruvian-made high quality Pima cotton pyjamas, dress shirts and bed linens, thanks in part to the linkages that TFO Canada helped Simons establish with local suppliers.

As Geneviève Bussière, Simons’ import director explains: “In the fashion business … every minute counts.  Having someone to guide us through a completely new market experience was critical to our successful partnerships with Peruvian suppliers.”

About TFO Canada

In November 2010, TFO Canada will be marking its 30th anniversary.  Established by the Canadian government in 1980 it was created to support an international commitment to help open markets for smaller exporters from developing countries.  A non-government organisation, TFO Canada receives support from the Canadian International Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.  It has 11 staff in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.  Technical support is implemented through a network of trade specialists ― in partnership with export agencies, chambers of commerce, embassies and trade offices in those countries where TFO Canada operates projects.TFO Canada’s recently published corporate brochure is attached in PDF format.

For more information, or for interview contacts with recent clients and Canadian partners:

Brian Mitchell
Executive Director
TFO Canada
56 Sparks Street, Suite 300
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5A9
613-233-3925 Ext. 31


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