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Canada Unveils Plan To Boost Exports

Canadian businesses hoping to break into international markets can now apply for financial assistance from a new federal program announced Tuesday at Communitech.

The new program called CanExport intends to encourage small and medium-sized Canadian businesses to participate in global markets by reimbursing companies for as much as 50 percent of the costs associated with becoming export-ready.

The program aims to boost Canada’s presence in international markets by increasing Canadian companies’ competitiveness abroad and creating new jobs domestically.

“CanExport is an investment in growing our economy, strengthening the middle class and helping those working hard to join it,” said International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland in a statement. “This program will enable small businesses in Canada to explore new opportunities, giving them an advantage in competitive and potentially lucrative new markets, while creating good-quality jobs at home.”

CanExport will run over the next five years and provide as much as $50 million to an estimated 1,000 businesses. Each company will be eligible for a matching contribution between $10,000 and $100,000. Eligibility is determined by several criteria including, revenues between $200,000 and $50 million, being an incorporated legal entity or LLP and having fewer than 250 workers.

The program will support costs to businesses associated with travel, participation at trade fairs, market research, adaptation of marketing tools for new markets and legal fees associated with distribution and representation agreements.

Today 65 percent of Canada’s GDP comes from international trade, with one in five jobs connected directly to exports. Meanwhile, while small and medium-sized businesses employ nearly 90 percent of the private sector.

“CanExport is part of our plan to support small businesses that are seeking to become more productive, more innovative, and more export-oriented,” said Small Business Minister Bardish Chagger, the MP for Waterloo. “With this program, which is part of Canada’s trade strategy, we want to make it easier for small businesses to take advantage of government financing and export-oriented supports.”

Concern has grown in government and the business community about Canada’s weak participation in foreign markets in recent years. In 2014, Canada had the lowest share of foreign investment stock in Asia or Africa of any G7 nation, and had 9000 fewer companies participating in international markets than at the start of the 2008 recession, according to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.