Ontario, Canada is creating a new Beijing-based agri-food trade advisor position to help the province's agri-food sector expand into the Chinese market.
The new in-market trade advisor will be a seasoned food industry professional with business experience in global markets.
As part of the 2015 Ontario Agri-Food Trade Mission to China, ministers Jeff Leal and Michael Chan are discussing how the new advisor will help connect Ontario exporters with Chinese buyers, sales brokers, distributors, agents and importers.
China is currently Ontario's second-largest agri-food export market. In 2014 alone, Ontario's total agri-food sales to China, including exports to Hong Kong, reached $832 million. The new agri-food in-market trade advisor, to be in place by June 1, 2015, will open up even more opportunity for Ontario producers in the Chinese market by providing them with strategic advice and guidance.
The Ontario Agri-Food Trade Mission to China is part of Ontario's plan to meet the Premier's Agri-Food Growth Challenge, which calls on the sector to double its rate of growth and create 120,000 new jobs by 2020. In 2014, the sector grew by 17,000 jobs and increased exports by $646 million.
Helping Ontario's agri-food businesses compete globally is part of the government's economic plan for the province. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.
Currently, Ontario has two agri-food in-market trade advisors in the United States, covering the North East and Central US. Funding for this position comes from Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, and territorial initiative.Ontario also has two International Marketing Centres in China to promote the province's investment and business opportunities. The Shanghai office opened in 2002 and the Beijing office opened in 2007. The Chongqing office opened this year.
"China is an important and growing market for Canadian agricultural products. Our Government will continue to support initiatives that allow our producers and processors to gain access to this rapidly expanding market while growing the Canadian economy," says Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada