In Québec, one-third of the GDP and one-third of jobs are linked to the export sector. Since the beginning of spring 2020, major changes have shaken up practically every industry. COVID-19 has changed our habits, limited our travel opportunities and even altered our consumption patterns, all of which entails serious consequences for exporters. After a much needed adaptation period, SMEs have adopted new approaches to accessing foreign markets. The opportunities are there, and it is time to seize them!
A Favourable Context for Some Stakeholders
At first glance, it would be easy to imagine that the unexpected arrival of the coronavirus has not been beneficial for any entrepreneurs. However, upon closer inspection, certain industries have found that the new context, and the demand created by the pandemic, is extremely favourable. Obviously, the suppliers of medical products and services are at the top of the list, but there has also been significant growth in exports among food processing and retail sales companies, and of course, with the prevalence of teleworking, we have seen a marked increase in demand for ICT products and services.
According to the 2019 figures, the decrease in exports is only 11% in the same period.*
Regardless of the extent to which your industry has been impacted by the pandemic, pursuing business development outside of Québecis much easier if you are willing and able to adapt and innovate. First off, since travel and business development activities have been severely curtailed by flight restrictions, the Market Development Directors at PME MTL recommend that their clients develop the competencies of e-sales professionals or outsource certain marketing activities to partners who are already on the ground in their various export markets.
In Quebec, one third of the GDP and jobs are linked to exports.*
Taking Advantage of Opportunities
Thanks to the trade agreements that have been signed in recent years, Canadians have access to many opportunities on international markets. With the CUSMA, effective July 1, in North America, along with the CETA, which gives us direct access to the European market, and the CPTPP, which opens up the Pacific market, Québec exporters are in an enviable position in terms of expanding their offer around the globe. The atmosphere of tension that pervades the trade relationship between the United States and China may also prove beneficial to Canadians, because our neighbours to the South are no doubt seeking to replace a good number of their Chinese suppliers.
*Source : Statistique Canada – BDC – North Country Chamber of Commerce – IQ
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