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Trade Commissioner Service - Eligibility and services

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for our services, your company must have all three (3) of the following:

Meaningful economic ties to Canada

Meaningful economic ties means your company:

  • Is registered or incorporated in Canada
  • Employs staff in Canada
  • Maintains a presence in Canada either through an established office, a subsidiary, a plant, a research & development facility, or a joint venture

Capacity for, and commitment to, internationalization

Capacity for internationalization is demonstrated by your company having:

  • researched foreign markets
  • dedicated resources for your international growth (both human and financial)
  • a business plan with international objectives

Potential to contribute significantly to the Canadian economy

This means your company’s international business development activity has direct benefits to Canada, such as:

  • increased exports of Canadian-made products or services
  • technology transfer
  • new job creation
  • increased research and development activity
  • increased production in Canada

Companies seeking to sell equities abroad, or one-person operations seeking to sell an idea abroad with no future benefits to Canada, are not eligible for TCS services.

Key services of the TCS

The TCS can support your international business activities through:

Our network

Get advice and industry contacts to help take your business to the world

There are more than 1,000 trade commissioners located in more than 160 cities worldwide with six regional offices across Canada. They guide Canadian companies on their international business journey, including:

  • assessing their potential for specific markets
  • developing market-entry strategies
  • connecting them with important opportunities
  • helping resolve complex business problems

Trade commissioners help Canadian companies by providing:

  • on-the-ground intelligence
  • qualified contacts and privileged access to foreign governments, business leaders and decision makers
  • access to partnership opportunities and export deals
  • practical advice on international markets to help businesses become export-ready

Access diverse markets worldwide

Canada's free trade agreements, foreign investment promotion and protection agreements, plurilateral agreements, and World Trade Organization agreements are all available online.

Trade commissioners provide expert advice to help companies learn how to take advantage of preferential access to these markets. The TCS also delivers in-person information sessions, seminars and trade missions to help companies understand opportunities.

The TCS also developed the Canadian COVID-19 Capabilities Directory. This is a directory that matches companies who have the capacity and are ready to sell their products or services, with international opportunities and buyers.

Contact a trade commissioner:

Funding

Funding programs for doing international business

The TCS provides financial support to help Canadian companies and organizations grow in new international markets and opportunities.

  • Visit CanExport for updates on CanExport activities including those affected by the evolving COVID-19 situation, full eligibility criteria, and definitions.
  • CanExport SMEs - Financial support of up to $75,000 to help Canadian SMEs break into new international markets. Eligible expenses include a wide range of activities, from application fees to local authorities for the protection of intellectual property in target market(s) (trademarks, patents, etc.), to the cost of adapting or translating sales contract or seeking legal, tax or business advice in target markets.
  • CanExport Associations - Funding for Canadian industry associations to pursue international business-development activities - Funding that helps innovators to pursue and sign collaborative research and development agreements with international partners and investors.
  • CanExport Innovation - Funding that helps innovators to commercialize new innovative technology and access partnerships in foreign markets
  • CanExport Community Investment - Financial support for Canadian communities to attract, retain, and expand foreign direct investment (FDI)

The TCS also provides funding for specific audiences and sectors through programs like the Canadian International Innovation Program which connects Canadian SMEs with foreign partners to develop, adapt, or validate technologies.

Support

Assess your potential for specific foreign markets

The TCS provides Canadian businesses and organizations with tailored advice to help them enter new markets outside of Canada.

Dedicated services to inclusive trade groups: The TCS is committed to providing support to exporters who belong to underrepresented groups in international trade, including firms owned by:

  • women
  • Indigenous people
  • youth
  • visible minorities
  • members of the LGBTQ2 community

TCS support to these groups includes information on unique supplier diversity opportunities and targeted initiatives including group-specific trade events and delegations.

Trade missions and events: The TCS hosts events and seminars to educate Canadian businesses on how to access new opportunities and take advantage of free trade agreements like the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership and Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. The TCS also organizes trade missions for Canadian businesses to:

  • explore opportunities
  • get introduced to the right people
  • connect with potential business partners and clients in new markets

Accelerated Growth Service: Helps growth-oriented Canadian businesses with financing and innovation, export, and business advice.

Canadian Technology Accelerator: Helps Canadian technology companies with an existing and validated product or technology in the three sectors of cleantech, life sciences, and information and communications technologies access opportunities in key global tech hubs.

Sector and country-specific information, guides, and publications: Research current business opportunities in specific countries, or browse by sector to find new markets and growth possibilities.

The TCS also works in collaboration with, and refers Canadian companies to partner programs including:

Service standards

Response time and quality of service

We take pride in our response time and quality of service. We will contact you within five working days of receiving your inquiry.

While business conditions may vary, we do our utmost to tailor our services to your specific needs in each of the markets you are targeting.

Feedback about our services

If you have feedback on our services, please send us a message.

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