Helping PH firms look farther north
Helping PH firms look farther north
Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC)
October 6, 2021
By Veronica Silva Cusi
The Philippine Reporter
The Philippine trade office in Canada is working with Canadian governments and industries to help connect Philippine companies to possible partners farther north.
The Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC)-Toronto, which is the representative office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Canada, has been finding ways to strengthen trade between the Philippines and Canada.
Maria Roseni M. Alvero, senior trade commissioner, Philippine Consulate General, heads PTIC.
Last July, PTIC organized a webinar with the City of Brampton where players in both startup ecosystems met to promote the economies of both countries.
In an interview with The Philippine Reporter, Alvero said PTIC has been studying the startup ecosystem in Canada.
“It’s an important sector in the Philippines and for Canada. As much as possible, we want to be present in that space here in Canada,” she said.
Canada is not among the Philippines’ top trading partners.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the Philippines’ top trading partner remains the United States. In the first semester of 2021, Philippine exports to the U.S. reached US$5.66 billion or a share of 15.7 per cent.
Alvero said that with startups being an emerging sector in the Philippines, DTI has been helping players from the Philippines participate in international events in Toronto, including Elevate and Collision, two of the biggest industry conferences and networking events in the city.
Startups are businesses that are in the beginning stages of growth. Because they are in the initial stages, these businesses need help from partners, such as governments, investors, and like-minded firms.
In Collision 2021, a virtual event due to COVID-19, the DTI sent 20 participants, said Alvero. In this international conference, DTI sponsored sector-specific presentation and networking session that was well-attended and resulted in connections.
One connection was made with the City of Brampton, and the result of was the webinar last July.
In the webinar, Brampton touted its central location in the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor, said to be the largest technology cluster in North America. The corridor is a 112-km stretch of innovation with more than 15,000 technology companies, 200,000 technology workers, and 5,200 startups. Last year, the city said it is building an Innovation District in the city’s downtown to promote its startup community.
Alvero said the webinar was a way for the startup ecosystems in both countries to collaborate and grow together.
Among the participants in the webinar was city councillor Rowena Santos, a Filipina-Canadian.
Brampton is home to about 20,000 Filipinos, said Santos in a press release.
Aside from the Philippine technology players, PTIC is helping connect Philippine businesses with Canadian partners from coast to coast.
“Other than startups, we have other priority sectors, which are commonly important or priorities of Canada and the Philippines,” said Alvero.
For example, PTIC has been looking into Quebec’s aerospace sector, which is home to Bombardier, Airbus, Bell Helicopter Textron Canada, Pratt & Whitney Canada, and more.
Aerospace products were one of the top Canadian merchandise exports to the Philippines in 2018, according to the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines. Canada’s aerospace industry contributed $13.1 billion to Canadian gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018.
PTIC is also looking into Canada’s creative industry with Toronto and Vancouver, B.C. being dubbed as Hollywood of the North.
Winnipeg, Mani., dubbed as the “cultural cradle of Canada” owing to its creative talent pool, architecture, festivals, and events, is also in PTIC’s radar.
Manitoba is also home to many Filipinos. According to the Embassy of the Philippines in Ottawa, Manitoba has the most Filipinos on a per capita basis, comprising 6.5 per cent of the province’s population.
Canada and the Philippines have an Audio-Visual Co-Production Agreement signed in 1998.
“We would like to have more co-productions. So far, our co-productions have been in animation for TV. But we also want [co-productions] for full-feature films,” she said.