CUTIS held an export forum for apparel and footwear manufacturers interested in trade with Canada

The CUTIS project and the Canada-Ukraine chamber of commerce held a practical export forum in Kyiv for Ukrainian companies interested in exporting apparel and footwear to Canada.

During the event, participants had the opportunity to learn more about the Canadian footwear and apparel market, get acquainted with specific features of product promoting in Canada and communicate with Canadian experts who have huge experience in cooperation with Canadian buyers and distributors. The forum brought together about 50 small and medium enterprises.

Adam Barbolet, Senior Trade Commissioner of Embassy of Canada to Ukraine welcomed the guests.

‘Canada has been and remains a reliable partner of Ukraine. The Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine (CUFTA) came in force in 2017 and has visible results in terms of trade growth between countries. For example, Ukraine has become one of the leaders of apple juice suppliers in Canada.

We are interested in further economic cooperation with Ukraine. We do hope that more and more Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises will be able to export their goods to Canada. We want to see these products in the Canadian market, we want to help Ukrainian business to be successful in the Canadian market,’ Adam Barbolet said.

Emma Turos, Executive Director of the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine and CUTIS project manager spoke about the CUTIS export portal, which will provide relevant information to Canadian and international businesses seeking reliable Ukrainian partners.

Olga Shtepa, CUTIS Project Coordinator, drew the attention of the event participants to the specifics of the Canadian business culture (download the presentation via the link). In particular, Olga Shtepa named 5 essential components for successful exports to Canada:

  • Website in English (native English)
  • Detailed costs and prices information
  • Farewell to stereotypes
  • Getting rid of misconceptions about your product or service
  • Professional presentation of own products/services

Maxim Boroda, CUTIS Senior Trade and Investment Analysis Expert, told about features, trends, and consumer preferences in the Canadian apparel & footwear market.

In 2018, Canadians spent CAD 36 billion on clothing. In particular, CAD 18 billion on women’s clothing and about CAD 11 billion on men’s clothing. By 2023, the total sales of clothing will reach CAD 43 billion, with an average annual growth rate of 3.4%. At the same time, sales of hosiery will increase faster than any other category.

Canadian consumers spent CAD 7.8 billion on shoes, in particular, CAD 3.7 billion on women’s shoes, CAD 3.1 billion on men’s and CAD 1 billion on children’s shoes. By 2023, total footwear sales will reach CAD 9.5 billion.

Sales of man’s footwear will grow faster than other categories. The reason is the increase of men’s interest in fashion trends, especially among young people, as well as the liberalization of the office dress code.

Oleksandra Brovko, CUTIS Senior Trade and Investment Policy Expert, clarified regulatory and labeling requirements for Ukrainian goods in the Canadian market. She drew the attention of the participants to the rules of origin.

Oleksandra Brovko noted that the rules of origin in the CUFTA are based on the so-called North American model, and therefore sometimes different from the rules of origin contained in other free trade agreements between Ukraine and the European and post-Soviet countries.

Zoia Pavlenko, CUTIS Environmental Expert, explained the specifics of voluntary certification of Ukrainian products for the Canadian market and argued why environmentally sustainable production practices are competitive advantages in the Canadian market.

Vira Porovska, CUTIS Gender Expert, illustrated why gender-sensitive marketing is an essential requirement of Canadian consumers.

Apparel and footwear export guides were presented during the second part of the event.

You can download apparel export guide here (in Ukrainian)

You can download footwear export guide here (in Ukrainian)

Participants also had a chance to listen to the presentations of Canadian experts as well as ask questions related to Ukrainian goods prospects in the Canadian market.

TFO Canada consultant Maria Guzman (apparel market) explained how Ukrainian producers should build mutually beneficial relationships with Canadian buyers and shared the success stories of Ukrainian companies participated in CUTIS’s U CAN Export supporting program for small and medium-sized enterprises.

TFO Canada consultant Phil Zwibel (footwear market) brought into focus the typical mistakes Ukrainian manufacturers make entering foreign markets, including Canada. The logistics issues, misunderstanding of market specifics and unwillingness to update a product to the needs of local consumers are the main challenges Ukrainian companies need to overcome.