Due to the uncertainty regarding the Omicron Variant and the potential impact on international travel, the Trade Venture to Canada has been adapted to a Virtual Trade Venture format. The in-person business development meetings are now virtual meetings, with other deliverables of the venture remaining in place. In addition, the cost of a Virtual Trade Venture has been adjusted to $500 per company.
A ROBUST AND VARIED TRADE RELATIONSHIP
It can be in times of crisis that new opportunities arise. Companies will emerge stronger from the current economic downturn if they take steps now to pursue opportunities and new ways of doing business—and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is here to support them. To help Wisconsin companies make connections in Canada, WEDC is organizing a virtual Trade Venture from March 20-25, 2022.
To adapt to the pandemic, WEDC has converted its Global Trade Ventures into a virtual format that consists of online meetings between Wisconsin companies and potential customers, distributors and other prospective partners in international markets. After learning about your company and products, WEDC’s in-country trade representatives will bring potential partners and distributors to you. All participants need to do is show up ready to make their pitch and ask questions to determine if the potential partner is a good fit.
The U.S. and Canada enjoy the world’s largest and most comprehensive trading relationship. The two countries trade more than $2 billion in goods and services daily. While the U.S.-Canada border may be closed to nonessential travel, the flow of goods and services between the two countries continues, with trade lanes open and active. Free trade agreements (NAFTA and now the newly ratified USMCA) have created a truly hemispheric supply chain that has become an essential fact of life for many companies on both sides of the border.
According to the Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian GDP growth is forecast to accelerate 4.9% in 2021 as the economy recovers from COVID-19. Canada is a highly receptive, open and transparent market for U.S. products and services, with Canadians spending more than 60% of their disposable income on U.S.-made goods and services. Canada is the largest export market for U.S.-produced goods ($293 billion in 2019) and for goods produced in Wisconsin ($6.7 billion in 2019). In fact, Wisconsin exports to Canada were more than total Wisconsin exports to Mexico, China, the UK and Germany combined in 2019. Leading export categories from Wisconsin to Canada include industrial machinery, electrical machinery, paper products, non-rail vehicles and parts, and plastics.
Canada is an ideal market for new-to-export companies, as well as those seeking to further expand their business/distribution networks in country. The Canadian market seeks innovative, advanced technology product and service solutions—so whether a company is a first-time or a seasoned exporter, this market should be a key component of its export growth strategy.
MAKING BUSINESS CONNECTIONS VIRTUALLY
During the virtual trade venture to Canada, participants will be scheduled for one-on-one meetings with potential partners in the market. These partners are identified based on each participating company’s specific goals and objectives. Each participant in the trade venture will also receive a Canada market assessment detailing considerations they should keep in mind when introducing their product or service into the market. WEDC has eyes and ears on the ground in Canada, in the form of Wisconsin’s authorized trade representative based in Toronto—thus making it easier for Wisconsin companies to find local partners they can trust, taking some of the guesswork out of launching in a new market or growing exports within the market. With all your appointments arranged for you, you can focus on business rather than logistics and scheduling.
It is difficult to speak of the Canadian market as a singular market, as it is quite segmented based on regions. But as a large, advanced economy with well-developed infrastructure that is located close to Wisconsin, it offers great opportunity for Wisconsin exporters all along the export continuum—from new-to-export companies seeking to grow to more advanced exporters seeking to expand.
Some current sectors of opportunity include:
- Food and beverage
- Health care (including virtual health care)
- Green infrastructure
- Information and communications technology, including work-from-home, cybersecurity and online learning technologies