Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has said that “Our government is proud to support this strategy that encourages export growth and the diversification of markets for B.C. agri-food and seafood products. The strategy will help increase the competitiveness of B.C. companies in the international marketplace and contribute to strengthening the Canadian economy and the middle class.”

Norm Letnick, B.C. Minister of Agriculture“The British Columbia government has been working with B.C.’s agrifoods sector to build the market for B.C. products abroad, and we’ve seen results, setting records reaching $3.5 billion in 2015. This strategy will help connect B.C. products with foreign buyers, and with our other efforts at trade shows, trade missions, and trade offices, will continue to bring more dollars and opportunities to B.C. farmers, producers and value-added businesses.”

Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism “British Columbia has earned an international reputation for safe, reliable, top-quality agrifoods and seafood products. The B.C. Agrifood and Seafood International Market Development Strategy builds on this reputation by providing a focused plan to help B.C. companies capitalize on opportunities in key markets around the world, helping them diversify their customer base and grow their operations at home in B.C.”

A new international market development strategy is the latest item on the menu offering B.C.’s agrifood and seafood products to the world. The strategy aims to build on the record $3.5 billion worth of B.C. products exported in 2015.

The strategy focuses on providing programs and services that support three key areas: market knowledge, generating investment, and building networks, that collectively support success for B.C. companies in the marketplace.

Research has demonstrated that businesses entering new markets need market knowledge to succeed. The strategy emphasizes that by accessing customized market profiles, cost-competitive analysis and advisory services, as well as attending market readiness seminars and workshops, B.C. companies can be better informed and prepared to succeed in attracting new customers in new markets.

The strategy also highlights the value of government investment in programs that fund the development of new products, practices or technology, help B.C. companies prepare for and participate in targeted international marketing, and support an internationally recognized food safety and traceability system.

Export success or failure can depend on the quality and reliability of information and the established contacts on the ground in the new market. The Strategy highlights the value that having B.C. Trade and Investment Representatives in 13 international locations can provide in helping connect B.C. companies with buyers and trade representatives in key markets, as can participating in incoming and outgoing trade missions, and tradeshows and promotional events.

The strategy identifies the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong as priority markets for B.C. exports, as well as 17 secondary priority markets, and others with long-term growth potential. The strategy includes goals and targets for export growth, the diversification of export markets, the development of export capacity, knowledge and skills, and the opening of new markets for B.C. products.

B.C. food businesses exported more than 600 types of foods to over 150 markets in 2015 with exports reaching a record $3.5 billion. The B.C. government’s Export Ready Business Catalogue is also now available in Chinese, Japanese and Korean and has been distributed through B.C. government trade offices in all three countries. The guide represents B.C.’s diverse agri-food and seafood sector, and includes profiles of about 100 B.C. producers of fruits and vegetables, seafood, meat, packaged food, natural health products and beverage makers, ready to export B.C. products.

The International Market Development Strategy and the Export Ready Business Catalogue are funded through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative that provides a $3-billion investment over five years in innovation, competitiveness and market development.