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The Future is Bright for Canadian Agri-foods in the Chinese Market

Chinese businesses and investors are consistently looking for prospective Canadian agri-foods and products to export to China. The link between Chinese and Canadian business interaction has strengthened over the last twenty years and continues to grow. This can be directly attributed to the increased immigration and tourism between the two countries, the food safety issues in China and the increased Chinese economic development.

Chinese immigration and tourism to Canada has increased 82% since before 1981, according to Statistics Canada. Immigrants born in Asia made up the largest proportion of newcomers to Ontario specifically between 2001 and 2006 at 64.6%. With China’s rate of outbound tourists increasing 43 million people in the last 8 years, we can see that both economies have developed a familiarity with one another. Through the large Chinese communities in Canada, Chinese businesses and Chinese investors frequently travel to Canada and are exposed to the pristine land we maintain, and the plentiful resources we possesses. This, in turn, projects a positive economic image for Canada and poses great opportunity for the imports of Canadian products and agri-foods to China.

Canadian agri-food in China

Another key reason as to why trade and economic interaction between Canada and China is encouraged and maintained is because of the food safety issues that exist in the Chinese marketplace. In 2007-2008, there was a severe milk scandal in China that affected both animals and babies caused by a deadly melamine in their food. Chinese businesses want to promote and sell Canadian products because they wish to espouse healthy, safe and trusted foods into the marketplace to deliver to their customers; the people of their country. Some products in China are becoming questionable; therefore, businesses have decided to look elsewhere, and have developed a profound interest in Canadian products/ agri-foods.

Over the last 20-30 years, China’s economic development has severely increased and strengthened. With this, came the development of China’s “luxury market.” China makes up for one of the most prosperous countries economically in the world because of its accelerated GDP, among other factors. The Chinese are constantly on the lookout for countries that can export high quality foods that they can project into that market specifically. For example, one piece of quality cut beef sells in China for approximately $80 at a luxury hotel restaurant. Canada China Agriculture and Food Development Exchange Center has already helped Canadian businesses connect with the Canadian beef market in China, undergoing over 3 beef missions with prospective Canadian businesses in the last year and a half years. Progress is being made, and CCAGR is confident of the continued future success of this market. Several important Chinese beef importers are traveling to Canada in the coming months to buy Canadian beef that will be exported into China.

The organic and health foods market demand is rapidly increasing and showing more and more opportunity for Canadian businesses.   Every year, China depends on Canada for its imports of soybean, canola, flax seed oils as well as wheat and pork.  In addition to this, more than 90% of Canadian ginseng products go to China.

CCAGR is currently working with Vinifera Grape Powder to market their products in China. Vinifera Grape Power is a Canadian company based in Jordan, Ontario, that converts the waste from wine production, into a grape powder than can be used for Canadian cuisine. In fact, most mid to large sized wineries or wine related companies in the Niagara region have or has had either an export agent or some sort of business contact in China. This is just one example that illustrates the thriving potential for Canadian luxury products and agri-foods in the Chinese market.

Every year, CCAGR conducts an agri-tour mission to China with Canadian businesses that are interested in exporting their products to China. CCAGR arranges meetings between these Canadian companies and potential Chinese partners so that in the future, business ventures may present themselves.  With over 26 years in the industry, CCAGR uses their knowledge and expertise to help bridge the gap between the two companies to aid opportunity of future investment. CCAGR’s newest venture involves the organization and development of a Canadian agri-food store in China which will help maintain the positive imagine of Canadian agriculture and agri-foods in China.