Transcript: Company leverages the power of Canada-Jordan FTA
Greg Smith, CEO
Well very interesting for us is that as Canada has pursued free-trade agreements around the world, most recently we’ve had an export opportunity right here behind me, in excess of two million dollars for the country of Jordan. And Jordan has most recently ratified this agreement and as a result makes us much more competitive to produce our product, ship the product and import it into countries such as Jordan, which is a large growing market for us... one of many in the Middle-East.
Evans Consoles is a designer and manufacturer of mission-critical control rooms. We manufacture products that are typically used in 9-1-1 call centres, control towers for air traffic control, RADAR centres, power and gas generation plants, anywhere there is a requirement to contain a lot of technology—computer technology, large video walls... this is what Evans has developed a reputation for building and accommodating all of that technology.
Ninety-six percent of what we produce at Evans is exported from Canada. So we are very, very international, serving today over 35 countries.
The primary benefits that we gain from having a free-trade agreement is that we become much more cost competitive—it doesn’t matter where we go in the world, we always have competitors who also would like these very large projects, because they’re very critical to gain a foothold into a country to be able to establish markets to build a company upon. And as a result Free-trade agreements make us more cost effective by eliminating those import tariffs.
In Jordan in particular, the import duties have historically been at about 6% for our product as we manufacture. So when you add that on top of shipping costs etcetera for a Canadian company to go to that part of the world, it makes it cost prohibitive in many commercial applications to be able to compete against a local manufacturer. Customers are willing to pay a premium for performance, but there is a limit of elasticity how far they will go. And in this case adding 6% in Jordan specifically often would rule us out as being competitive enough to win a project.
Our focus has really been to develop the international opportunities because we recognize we need customers who are willing to pay a premium for this performance and can appreciate the engineering excellence we have developed here at the Calgary operation. So, from that perspective, now today even though were a relatively small company we’re a gorilla in the marketplace. So our experience has been in countries where we’ve had free-trade agreements or we are negotiating free-trade agreements, it brings us a much more level playing field to be able to compete against local competitors.
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