Parveen Thornhill, head of London at the Department for International Trade (DIT), urges businesses to take advantage of the growing export opportunities in the Great White North.
London firms are currently enjoying a boost in international orders. In the year to March 2018, exports from the region were up 8.1% on the previous year, totalling £36.6billion.
Demand for British products in countries like the US and China is well documented but there are other thriving export markets that are sometimes overlooked. Looking for export opportunities further afield can be both rewarding and lucrative.
London’s exporters have seen steady growth in Canadian sales over the past three years. In 2017 London firms exported more than £16million of goods to the country, a 42% increase on the previous year and 69% more than in 2015.
The UK as a whole is also seeing increased demand, with the latest ONS statistics showing goods exports to Canada increased by 12.7% in the year to March 2018, 2.7% higher than those to the EU (10%).
Canada is the world’s tenth largest economy and the eighth largest export market for UK businesses outside the EU.
It has similar legal and business practices to the UK, and there are fewer trade restrictions due to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which removes 98% of the duties British companies used to pay at Canadian customs.
It is now simpler than ever for companies to take advantage of the opportunities of the Canadian export market.
In his statement to MPs welcoming CETA, International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “It is an agreement that will improve on the already strong economic partnership between our two countries, and will potentially boost our GDP by hundreds of millions of pounds each year.”
Tapping into this potential can seem daunting. Canada’s federal structure means that there are different regulatory structures in place in each province or territory, making market research and planning even more vital.
However, local businesses don’t need to navigate the exporting landscape alone. There is plenty of support available to help along their exporting journey, regardless of their size, scale and aspirations.
As part of the Exporting is GREAT campaign, the Department for International Trade (DIT) is supporting many businesses to take the leap and sell their products abroad.
Two firms that have experienced an upturn in sales to Canada thanks to support from DIT are Lower Clapton-based Studio Soufflé, and Marylebone drinks producer, Double Dutch Drinks.
Studio Soufflé, which manufactures bespoke handmade inflatable structures, was commissioned by a major science and creativity festival in Alberta to create a giant lotus flower inflatable.
Double Dutch, founded by twin sister entrepreneurs Joyce & Raissa de Haas, has recently added Canada to the 22 countries worldwide that stock its premium tonics and mixers.
This uplift follows the business securing a deal with a distributor on the ground in Canada, helping them to meet the changing consumer demands for fast or next-day delivery of goods.
Stories like these show the potential for regional businesses to seize the opportunity of exporting.
To help others enjoy the same success, the Department for International Trade can offer direct support to businesses through more than 40 International Trade Advisers, who are all business experts based on the ground across London.
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement