Business group to introduce local agricultural products to Asia


A Richmond-based business group is calling for companies to join a trip to Hong Kong to introduce Canadian agricultural products to Asian markets.

North American Investment Association (NAIA), at 8888 Odlin Crescent, is authorized to be the Canadian representative at the first Belt & Road International Food Expo.

A number of Richmond companies, including Jingyin North America Enterprise Ltd., Coast Mountain E-commerce Corp. and Huijing Foods are already on the list, which will bring local products such as dried blueberries, maple syrup, seafood, jams and ice wine to the international platform.

The food expo will take place in Hong Kong from June 27 to 29, when about 1,200 companies from more than 40 countries will showcase their brands and food products to purchasing agents from around the world, according to Amy Huang, NAIA president and owner of Huijing Foods.

“We hope, by showcasing Canadian products and making connections with business people in Asia and other areas face-to-face, more local companies can open up new markets and businesses,” said Huang.

“As the prime minister failed to start free trade talks in China in December, and trade protectionism in the U.S. is rising, we business people need to step out and seek opportunities ourselves."

The exhibition will include five halls displaying produce from different categories, and there will be business-matching events and summits focusing on the opportunities offered to businesses by “the Belt & Road” initiative, which was launched by the Chinese government in 2013 to push for a transnational economic belt in Eurasia.

Canadian companies will mainly focus on displaying food products, according to Huang.

“Canada is one of the largest agricultural producers in the world, and its products have a very high reputation in Asia,” said Huang.

“Now a middle class is growing in China, and there is big demand for quality and healthy food. It is a great time to enter the market.”

She said Canadian ice wine, red wine, milk (formula), seafood and vitamins are among the most popular exports to Asia, but there is potential to develop a greater variety.

“Attending the Expo is a first step for many Canadian companies to get exposure for their products in an international market and get their names heard, which will lay a foundation for future cooperations,” said Huang.

Huang understands that some Canadian companies may feel nervous about entering the Chinese market, due to the lack of connections and concerns over government polices, which can change dramatically with short notice.

“That’s why we are here; we will provide all the support and information they need,” said Huang.

“And for the expo, NAIA will help businesses ship all the products there, book accommodation and send applications.

McNulty said he is happy to see the move taken at a “grassroots” level.

“Many times the government’s business trips are very expensive and the government comes back with nothing. In this case, there might be some concrete opportunities made.”
For more information about the Expo, call 604-279-1812.