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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.


Artisan Hub: TFO Canada taps into countriesí cultural heritage and traditions for export promotion

Thursday, August 04, 2016 > 11:18:50

TFO Canada has launched the Artisan Hub, an innovative new project to promote small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the specialty textile and garment sector. Capitalising on unique skills that are largely untapped beyond traditional borders, the initiative will organise exhibition shows and tell the stories of local producers to promote their products in Canada. With support from Global Affairs Canada and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the program will focus on eight least developed countries (LDCs): Madagascar, Uganda, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Haiti, Bangladesh, Cambodia.and Nepal.

LDCs face numerous challenges when accessing foreign markets however Canada's Market Access Initiative provides a duty free and quota free access into the Canadian market. Many are off the main trade routes, others are challenged in attracting investment and poor connectivity with regional and international markets, and as such are not on the radar of Canadian buyers.

Recognising the unique culture, traditions and know-how of LDCs, TFO Canada was motivated to find creative ways to put these countries on the map. It is a move away from the usual model of high-volume, low-margin exports, towards showcasing unique materials and skills. Some of the specialty textiles involved in the project are recognised as world heritage by UNESCO. These include Jamdani from Bangladesh and Bark Cloth making from Uganda. Other textiles range from silk in Cambodia and Ethiopia, to lace in Madagascar, as well as mohair from Lesotho. These fabrics are often used for traditional clothing, but there is a clear potential for other uses, notably in the fashion and soft furnishing industries.

The plan is to visit up to 50 small local companies, review their products and production capacity for participation in the project. Presently Mr. Jacques Nadeau, TFO Canada's Associate, is in Cambodia and Bangladesh reviewing products having travelled to Uganda, Ethiopia, and Madagascar, where he met producers and assessed a wide range of unique products suitable for the Canadian market.

Selected products will go on tour in Canada with roadshows in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal between September and November 2016. TFO Canada will also introduce the producers and samples of their work to potential Canadian buyers. This initial market contact will provide feedback and advice to producers on how they might adapt their designs and product development to best appeal to the Canadian market.

Following the initial 2016 roadshow, up to 30 companies will be selected for further tailored support based on their capacity and market potential. These producers will be invited to attend a TFO Canada tradeshow at the end of 2017 to showcase their products directly to Canadian buyers. We expect that this engagement with lead to growing trust and a first wave of business deals between the producers and buyers at the tradeshow.

Stay tuned as TFO Canada will be launching the Artisan Hub website in September to promote the amazing range of skills and products available from these countries to Canadian buyers, importers and distributors.

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