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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.


Press Release: TFO Canada Celebrates 40 years of improving lives through sustainable and inclusive trade

Thursday, November 26, 2020 > 09:01:53

Ottawa, ON (November 26, 2020) –Today, TFO Canada celebrates 40 years of improving lives through the creation of sustainable trade partnerships for exporters from developing countries with Canadian and foreign buyers. 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 1970s 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 country list strictly on those identified under the GATT as Least Developing Countries (LDCs) and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).

In May 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 a counsellor. In 1985 the organization was incorporated as a not-for-profit and still remains so to this day.

“When I reflect on the past 40 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 2020.  This is especially true as we confront the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic” 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 international markets.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and economies around the world. For 40 years, TFO Canada has supported small businesses in developing countries to succeed in new markets which spur growth, create good jobs and sustainable livelihoods, and strengthen local communities”, said Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. “This work is more important than ever amid COVID-19. We’ll continue to work together to support our small businesses and to promote  open trade that benefits everyone.”

“TFO Canada’s commitment to building the capacity of MSMEs and women entrepreneurs in developing countries has always been absolute. During this critical moment of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, the International Trade Centre looks forward to our continued partnership with TFO Canada, particularly on women’s economic empowerment” said Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC)

Some accomplishments since 1980 include:

  • First international trade mission in 1983 to five ASEAN Countries

  • TFO Canada launched its first website in 1996 and the searchable supplier database was made public 10 years later.  It now contains information on some 10,000 exporters, 1,700 trade support institution representatives and 2,000 Canadian importers.

  • TFO Canada receives the 14th Annual Canadian Award for International Cooperation in recognition of the ACCESS for African Businesswomen in International trade program in 2006

  • Successfully implementing a multi-year “Canadian Market Access and Capacity Building Services Program with funds from Global Affairs Canada between 2014-19, achieving 2.5 times the project objective in export sales.

  • In 2019, TFO Canada co-presented with Global Affairs Canada at the World Trade Organization’s Aid for Trade Global Review, showcasing its work in advancing women’s economic empowerment. 

TFO Canada TFO Canada is a recognized leader at improving lives through facilitating sustainable international trade opportunities for small & medium enterprises in developing countries  Through a dedicated  team, the organization is serving exporters and their respective trade support institutions through its services and facilitating exporter contacts with Canadian and foreign buyers.

Media Contact

Fadi Bassily

TFO Canada


Other Trade and Development News

Global Affairs Canada and Statistics Canada headlines


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