PH companies eye expansion opportunities with Canadian partners
CanCham organizes first outbound mission to Ontario; PCCT, Toronto Consulate host delegation
By Veronica C. Silva
Some Philippine-based companies have expressed interest in expanding their businesses, possibly with Canadian partners or clients. And that’s why Ontario was the first stop of the first outbound mission organized by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (CanCham).
Ontario hosted the trade mission in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal recently. The trade mission also visited University of Guelph, Niagara and Markham.
Cora de la Cruz, national executive director of CanCham told The Philippine Reporter that the Philippine companies chose Ontario as the first stop of the organization’s first trade mission to Canada because some of its members have expressed interest in networking with Ontario-based companies.
“The membership of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is growing and we want to increase and strengthen bilateral relations with Canada,” said de la Cruz during sidelights of the Filipinas Expo and Multicultural Trade Show organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce-Toronto (PCCT) at Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
PCCT hosted the CanCham delegation at the trade show last August 16.
De la Cruz added that the trade mission was the first outbound mission organized by the CanCham owing to increasing interests from its members.
She added: “It’s about time (for the trade mission). If our (CanCham’s) mission is to represent, support and promote Canada-Philippine business interest exchange, how do we do that? … Because of an increased interested in bilateral trade between Canada – there are a number of Canadian companies doing business there (in the Philippines) — we want to strengthen that. We want to have our own Philippine companies doing business here grow or those who would like to do business in Canada to find out business opportunities, here’s the chance.”
One of the Philippine businesses interested in expanding internationally is P.H. Espina Realty, whose president, Perla H. Espina, was a member of the delegation. P.H. Espina Realty specializes in agricultural and industrial lots but also offers commercial and residential lots.
Espina said she is looking for partners in Canada who might consider investing in real estate in the Philippines.
A number of companies that participated in the trade mission were in agri-business, according to briefing materials provided the media. De la Cruz said the group was also scheduled to visit University of Guelph for its organic agriculture focus and Niagara Falls for its hydroponic agriculture and wineries. In Montreal, the CanCham delegation was also scheduled to participate in a conference on food safety and technology.
PCCT and the Consulate of the Philippines in Toronto helped organize and coordinate the CanCham trade mission.
Junever Mahilum-West, Consul-General, Philippine Consulate in Toronto, said the growing number of Filipinos choosing Ontario, particularly Toronto, as their home could also encourage Philippine businesses to consider the province for business opportunities.
“This is a very important trade mission (for us in the Consulate) because aside from consular duties, it (the Consulate) also has its economic diplomacy mission. … It’s important that we have more and more exchanges like this. … Our community here (in Toronto) is vibrant, it’s growing, it’s evolving,” said Mahilum-West.
Moises P. Calo, 3rd VP-Public Relations, PCCT, said the Filipinas Expo and Multicultural Trade Show was the first PCCT-led independent trade show that the business group has organized, and it is opportune for the CanCham delegation to participate in the exposition to network.
“We are a networking group so our role is to connect them (delegates) with people and in so doing help grow Filipino-Canadian entrepreneurs and business owners,” said Calo.
On the choice of Ontario as the destination for the first trade mission of CanCham, Calo added: “If you’re a businessman and you want to first crack at the market, you go to Toronto. It’s logical that you go to Toronto.”
De la Cruz added that if the trade mission is successful, two more trade missions per year are in the pipeline, some of them focused on specific sectors.