Led by the Minister of International Trade, trade missions are about opening doors, providing on-the-ground support, business-to-business contacts, and information and tools for all Canadian exporters, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

These missions are an important component of Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan, to position Canadian business for export success in foreign markets.

Trade missions generally visit one or more countries and spend an average of 1.5 to 2 days in each city within a one week period. Participants will learn about doing business in the host market(s), and gain exposure to the social and business cultures while experiencing first-hand the services offered by Canada’s trade commissioners on the ground.

The structured program can include:

  • business briefings;
  • market and sector presentations/discussions;
  • effective networking events;
  • business-to-business meetings;
  • site visits (when possible);
  • face-time with the minister.

The presence of a senior federal minister and resources from Canada’s export agencies on a trade mission presents unique opportunities and benefits to participants, including:

  • access to key economic and government decision-makers;
  • on-the-ground support from the Trade Commissioner Service network and export agencies, including Export Development Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation;
  • unparalleled networking opportunities with the local business community;
  • business-to-business meetings with potential partners;
  • foreign market intelligence and troubleshooting; and,
  • an opportunity to initiate, develop and conclude export partnerships.

Canadian companies looking to participate on a trade mission may benefit from CanExport, a new funding program by the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) that offers small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada, an incentive to diversify in export markets.  CanExport is a cost-shared program that provides eligible companies with the financial support to tackle new business opportunities by engaging in international business development activities, such as participating on trade missions, in trade fairs or conducting market research.

The Government of Canada as well as individual Provincial and Territorial governments also offer a number of programs that help Canadian businesses expand internationally.