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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcomes today’s announcement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that Canada will establish a new export market development program and expand the Trade Commissioner Service.

“This is a big deal. By helping entrepreneurs manage the costs of international expansion and by strengthening our trade offices in priority countries, we’ll be making a real difference on the ground,” says Canadian Chamber President and CEO Perrin Beatty.

“With consumer spending showing signs of weakness, Canada will need a vibrant export sector to pick up the slack. That’s why for several years now we’ve been asking the government to take bold action like this to help companies of all sizes compete in the markets of the future.”

The export market development program will receive $50 million over five years to provide non-repayable matching contributions to companies seeking to export to emerging markets for the first time. The program aims to reach 500-1000 exporters per year and will cover market research and participation in trade fairs and business development trips.

The Trade Commissioner Service, which maintains a network of trade promotion officers around the world, will receive $42 million over five years and an additional $9.25 million per year afterwards. This funding will be used to increase their footprint abroad and increase promotion and outreach efforts in Canada.

Last year, a Canadian Chamber report called for Ottawa to maximize the value of free trade agreements by enhancing trade promotion and economic diplomacy, including new tools for exporters and additional resources for the Trade Commissioner Service. A subsequent report on discussions with fast-growing entrepreneurs across Canada confirmed the need to raise awareness of government trade promotion services.

The Canadian Chamber has also partnered with the Trade Commissioner Service to create a contact point for SMEs and local chambers of commerce to learn more about exporting and how to access the resources they need to go global.

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