News Tag: exports
What impressions did Ukrainian manufacturers make on Canadian buyers and what are the prospects of Ukrainian products in the Canadian market?

The CUTIS project has organized a visit to Ukraine for Canadian distributors interested in finding reliable food and beverage suppliers for the Canadian market.

During the 10 days of the trade mission that Canadian business representatives spent in Ukraine, they visited Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Zaporozhzhia and met with representatives of more than 40 companies.

Yuriy Baranov, founder of CAALCO distributors corp., distributor of Yummy Market (Canada)

My company has been involved in the import of alcoholic beverages for the Canadian market for over 20 years, and at the moment I am considering expanding the import line with foodstuffs. I have a good track record of working with such leading Ukrainian alcohol companies as Bayadera group (TM “Hlibny Dar”), continue to negotiate with Alef Vinal (vodka Green Day, brandy Jean-Jack).

During the mission, I also established business relationships with such well-known companies as Petrus, Staritsky&Levitsky. A real discovery for me was the company “Ukrainian Medovary” from Drohobych, which restored almost lost recipes of Ukrainian natural beverages based on honey. A nice addition to the CUTIS program was a meeting with the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce management.

I personally visited 12 companies and had about 20 meetings with representatives of Ukrainian business. Most of them amazed me with the high production culture, quality of products, flavour profiles, professionalism of their teams. It feels like these companies have a clear export strategy, a creative team and are result-oriented.

I would like to emphasize the companies such as Beehive, Malby (TM Millenium), Klion group (TM Veladis), Lviv handmade factory, Bob snail, Bayadera, Bester. These companies have every reason to be optimistic about the future of Ukrainian exports to the global markets.

I am often asked what the main prerequisite for the success of a product in the Canadian market is. The answer is simple and complex at the same time: the product should be interesting to Canadian distributors and buyers.

If a Ukrainian company plans to target only the ethnic market and the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada this kind of expansion is 99% doomed. Indeed, the Ukrainian diaspora has more than 1.6 million people but the vast majority of them have no idea what modern Ukraine is and what kind of products it produces because their ancestors came to Canada before the 1917 revolution. True, they are loyal to everything Ukrainian, but they have grown up in Canada and usually consume local Canadian products they are used to.

I think it is optimal for a Ukrainian company to initially test their product in the ethnic market, to understand how interesting it is to Canadian consumers. Only if the product is in demand should they try to approach Canadian grocery chains and address such issues as customizing the name or developing the label to meet Canadian requirements (labels in Canada must contain information in 2 official languages – English and French). It’s worth starting with European-oriented networks such as Yummy Market or Starsky.

Michael Prudkov, Vice President of Crussimpex, a Canadian distributor company   

Crussimpex is a food importer that cooperates mainly with small manufacturers and distributes throughout Canada.

Crussimpex already has experience working with Ukrainian companies, and we want to expand the mix of Ukrainian products in the Canadian market.

During the mission, I met with representatives of about 20 Ukrainian companies. The overall impression is positive. There are many decent manufacturers on the market.

In today’s world, however, having a good product is not enough. You need to be ready to invest in entering foreign markets.

I got the impression that not all Ukrainian companies understand how to promote and sell their goods abroad. Exports require extra costs: into skilled personnel, interesting packaging, promotion, marketing, etc. No way without that. In addition, the entry process takes more than one day – it is unlikely to send a huge batch for the first time. One needs to move step by step and heed the importer’s advice.

You also need to understand the specifics of each region. Canadian consumers, unlike American consumers, are very conservative. It is difficult to get them to buy a product they are not used to. Although geographically Canada is a huge country, the size of the market is small, and it is by no means comparable to the US.

I would also advise Ukrainian manufacturers to take a more prudent approach to the issue of pricing. On average, the wholesale price in the Canadian market is three times higher than the wholesale price in Ukraine. Talking about the retail price, the difference is 4-5 times. This includes logistics, distribution costs, retail margins, exchange rate risks, and more.

Not all Ukrainian manufacturers understand this math. They hear the word Canada and immediately inflate the selling price. Canadian consumers are quite sensitive to the price. With overstated prices, Ukrainian goods simply will not find a buyer in Canada.

What Ukrainian foodstuffs have the best chance on the Canadian market? These are definitely not meat or dairy products because they are subject to import quotas and the certification process is quite complicated.

Confectionery products have very good chances and the leaders of the Ukrainian market (AVK, Roshen, Biscuit-Chocolate) are already presented in the market. I think other Ukrainian companies can become a name and compete with Belarusian, Moldovan or Russian manufacturers.

Grocery manufacturers have a good chance: I want to try putting Ukrainian fishery products on the Canadian market.

In general, the chances of Ukrainian companies in the Canadian market are not bad. I think that the representation of Ukrainian goods will only grow. Specifically, if there is support from such programs as CUTIS and from the State.

Emma Turos, Executive Director of the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine

When entering a new market, not only Canadian, a Ukrainian manufacturer should listen to local importers who understand specifics of their own market much better. Sometimes they ask about five steps to success. The answer is simple – 5 Ps (product, price, promotion, place and people) that you read about in any guidebook. I would add another “P” – practice. Practice export activities on a daily basis, and everything will get clear. Understanding the process of entering a market and the sense of time and partner are very important qualities of an entrepreneur.

In most cases, it will be difficult to sell the product as it is marketed in Ukraine. In the food industry, you need to consider everything – product appearance, taste, preservation of tastiness and appearance over a long period of time (only transportation to Canada takes almost two months), packaging, labeling, product and brand name. The product name must be clear to the buyer, it must be international. The exception is ethnic markets. In this case, the name should meet expectations as much as possible. Simply speaking, if the label indicates that these are “Artek” waffles, then they should comply as much as possible with traditional taste and appearance. Buyers buy such products in order to experience the “taste of childhood”. By the way, Ukraine clearly under performs in this area. For example, there are so-called “Kyiv” cakes on the Canadian market. However, they are made in Moldova. There is also a general rule: if a brand is stronger than a product, the brand must be promoted. If the product is stronger than the brand, then the product is promoted. One may also operate here under private label. Ukraine has very few globally known brands, so one should be flexible about the product name and brand. We have cases where both the product and the name were changed to more universal ones.

Pricing is another sensitive issue. Ukrainian manufacturers must clearly understand their competitors in each market segment. In the ethnic market, for example, (gingerbread, cakes, bagels, candies, etc.) we compete in price and quality with Moldova and Belarus.

Two heads are better than one and if a company has a clear strategy and resources I would not recommend saving on expert services. Without knowing the market requirements and the preferences of consumers in other countries, mistakes can be made that they will cost a lot. Trying to re-enter a new market afterwards is very difficult, since the Canadian market, for example, is not that big, and the reputation will be difficult to restore.

We live in a global world of change where you have to constantly fight for your place but do that diplomatically and with a polite smile. I am deeply convinced that Ukraine still needs to take a worthy place in the global trade not only with resources but also with high value-added products.

Lviv entrepreneurs learned about new opportunities for exporting apparel and footwear to Canada

The CUTIS project, the Canada-Ukraine chamber of commerce in cooperation with Ukrlegprom association, Lviv Business School and West Ukrainian Fashion Industry Cluster held a practical seminar in Lviv for Ukrainian companies interested in exporting apparel and footwear to Canada.

During the seminar, participants had the opportunity to learn more about the Canadian footwear and apparel market, as well as to get acquainted with specific features of product promoting in Canada.

The event brought together about 30 companies specializing in women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, as well as women’s, men’s, sports and children’s footwear.

Yuriy Samets, Chairman of the Board of the Western Ukrainian Fashion Industry Cluster and Tetiana Izovit, President of Ukrlegprom association, welcomed the guests.

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 potential 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 information on costs and prices
  • 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.

It’s an interesting fact, in 2018, 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. In 2018, shoe sales in the Canadian market have increased by 3.7% in value.

During the same period, 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. Consequently, the women’s clothing market in Canada is almost twice the size of the men’s market.

Maxim Boroda also presented practical export guides to Canada for apparel and footwear producers.

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

Oleksandra Brovko, CUTIS Senior Trade and Investment Policy Expert, clarified regulatory and labeling requirements for Ukrainian goods in the Canadian market.

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.

Borys Didai, KaDar Shoe Factory (Lutsk) export manager, told about the company’s entry into the Canadian market and the challenges facing Ukrainian manufacturers in this market. You can read the full KaDar success story via the link.

Interesting facts about free trade agreements with Canada

There are 14 free trade agreements currently in force in Canada involving 51 countries. According to Statistics Canada, at present Canada’s trade with these countries accounted for 78.5% of Canada’s IMPORTS and 89.7% of Canada’s EXPORTS in 2018.

The objective of free trade agreements is to increase trade with partner countries by reducing tariff barriers and opening access to foreign markets.

Three biggest free trade agreements:

North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA. Canada’s total trade with the member countries of NAFTA was valued at $788 billion and accounted for 66.8% of Canada’s total trade with the world in 2018.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA. Canada’s total trade with the member countries of CETA was valued at $118 billion and accounted for 10.0% of Canada’s total trade with the world in 2018.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, CPTPP. Canada’s total trade with the member countries of CPTPP was valued at $98 billion and accounted for 8.3% of Canada’s total trade with the world in 2018.

On August 1, 2017, Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement, CUFTA, entered into force. The Agreement will immediately open customs-free access to 98% of Canada’s market. This refers both to agricultural and industrial goods.

Canada’s situation is more complex. Right after the Agreement comes into force, the duties will be eliminated only for 72% of Canadian goods. The duties for the rest of 27% will be gradually reduced in compliance with transition periods – 3, 5, and 7 years. Besides, the Agreement provides for partial liberalization on the agricultural products key for Ukraine as well as some tariff rate quotas and specific goods.

Women entrepreneurs from Volyn region discussed the barriers on the way to international markets

The CUTIS project in cooperation with regional chambers of commerce and industry launched a series of #SheChampion seminars. The main goal is to discuss barriers women entrepreneurs face in business and international trade, as well as share experience in entering foreign markets.

On October 10, in cooperation with the Volyn Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the second SheChampion seminar was held in Lutsk, bringing together about 20 participants.

Women entrepreneurs discussed gender issues in international trade, learned more about online trading and shared success stories of finding new partners in foreign markets.

Successful craftswoman Kateryna Voylova has shared the secrets of opening an online store on Etsy e-commerce platform.

Olena Tarasenko from the Volyn enterprise “VGP” (TM “Ruta”, big paper products producer) described the history of export development to EU countries.

At the end of the event, the participants had the opportunity to take part in an interactive master class on employees’ motivation. Vira Porovska, CUTIS gender expert explained how to retain key specialists using non-financial motivation.

In the process of the seminar, women entrepreneurs exchanged advice, accumulated new ideas for improving the export strategies of their enterprises, shared their experience and set up new business contacts.

Similar events are planned in other regions of Ukraine. The next seminar will be in Vinnytsia, on October 17. Participation in the event is free in case of pre-registration

SheChampion: Women entrepreneurs from Kherson and Chernihiv learned new life hacks about entering foreign markets

The CUTIS project in cooperation with regional chambers of commerce and industry launched a series of #SheChampion seminars. The main goal is to discuss barriers women entrepreneurs face in business and international trade, as well as share experience in entering foreign markets.

On September 26, in cooperation with the Kherson Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the second #SheChampion seminar was held in Kherson, bringing together about 30 participants.

Women entrepreneurs from the Kherson region discussed gender issues in international trade, new trends in the Canadian markets and shared success stories of finding new partners in foreign markets.

Lota Bertulfo, CUTIS principal gender equality expert, made a presentation related to gender concerns in international trade. Victoria Gavrenkova (founder of agricultural companies Kaissa, Sun Light, BBBV), Natalia Yavorskaya (manager of the honey section of LLC “Sodruzhestvo”) and Yevgeniia Lukash (founder of LLC “EvgaKids”, children’s clothing) shared their export stories and gave practical advice for export-oriented businesses based on the previous experience. 

On October 3, the second #SheChampion seminar was held in Chernihiv in cooperation with the Chernihiv Chamber of Commerce and Industry. About 30 women entrepreneurs participated in the event.

During the event, the participants learned about gender issues in international trade, and perspective sectors for Ukrainian small and medium enterprises in the Canadian market.

In particular, Maksym Boroda, CUTIS Senior Trade and Investment Policy Expert, paid attention to major trends in the Canadian footwear, clothing, furniture, and confectionery markets.

Besides, such significant business issues as cybersecurity and the importance of choosing the right digital systems for business development were discussed. 

Similar events are planned in other regions of Ukraine. The next seminar will be in Vinnytsia on October 10. So keep an eye on the updates.

Canadian ICT business successfully develops cooperation with Ukrainian partners at Lviv ІТ Arena

This year, Canada was first represented with its national booth at the Lviv IT Arena, the biggest Ukrainian IT conference, which was held on September 27-29 in Lviv, Western Ukraine.

With the support of the Government of Canada, a range of events under the Canada National IT Program has been conducted. It’s a bright illustration of the great attention paid to developing cooperation between the Ukrainian and Canadian ICT sectors.

With the assistance of the Embassy of Canada, six leading Canadian ICT companies have visited Lviv IT Arena for the first time (Tektelic, Free Balance, GTA, IT Solution Invest, IT Action Group, and Web4you). 

On September 28, Trade Commission Service, Embassy of Canada to Ukraine in collaboration with the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce and the CUTIS project, organized the Canadian Business Breakfast which included B2B meetings between Canadian and Ukrainian companies. Roman Waschuk, Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine, opened the breakfast.

During the event, the Ukrainian N-iX company made the presentation of Ukrainian ICT sector achievements (Ukrainian IT Market in 2019 and beyond). 

About 20 Ukrainian companies attended b2b meetings with potential Canadian partners, including as leading companies like EPAM, SoftServe, as small and medium-sized businesses participating in CUTIS export support U CAN Export program (Inoxoft, Perfectial, LaSoft, Taurus Quadra).

On September 29, Canada Meet-Up meeting was held with the participation of the Honorary Consul of Canada Oksana Wynnyckyj-Yusypovych and the Canadian ICT business. About 40 Ukrainian ICT companies visited the event.

Summarizing, it is worth mentioning that the interest of Canadian ICT business in cooperation with Ukraine is ample proof of the high level of services that Ukrainian companies can and already provide to international partners in IT and communications sphere.

Ukrainian footwear companies participated in Canada’s largest shoe show for the third time

From August 18 to August 20, Ukrainian shoe companies participated in Canada’s largest Toronto Shoe Show.

This year more than 650 Canadian and European footwear and accessories brands were taking part in the exhibition.

As part of U CAN Export Support Program, the CUTIS project supported the participation of seven Ukrainian shoe manufacturers:

  • KaDar (Lutsk, men’s and women’s casual shoes)
  • Kredo (Khmelnitsky,  rubber footwear with EVA soles)
  • Olteya (Zhytomyr, women’s leather shoes)
  • Alisa-Line (Kharkiv, children’s rubber footwear)
  • Realpaks (Kharkiv, women’s and men’s rubber shoes)
  • Shoesprom Group (Kyiv, men’s and women’s shoes)
  • Stepter (Lviv region, men’s and women’s shoes)

This is the third shoe show in Canada for the Ukrainian footwear business. Previous trade shows took place on August 2018 and February 2019.

The results of the first two exhibitions are positive. Six Ukrainian producers have already delivered their samples to Canadian buyers, and three deals are almost on a finish line.

Before the exhibition, the CUTIS project organized a meeting of Ukrainian business with Cougar shoe company, which has been successfully operating in the Canadian shoe market since 1948!

Besides, as part of the retail tour, representatives of the Ukrainian shoe industry visited several malls and shoe stores in Toronto, including Nordstrom, ALDO, Hudson’s Bay, Steve Madden, Brawns. Such an introductory tour is very important because it helps Ukrainian businesses understand specific of Canada’s footwear industry and consumers’ preferences.

The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) entered into force on August 1, 2017, and opened customs-free access to 98% of Canada’s market for Ukrainian companies. Canada’s situation is more complex. The duties were eliminated for 72% of Canadian goods. The customs tariffs for the rest of 27% will be gradually reduced in compliance with transition periods – 3, 5, and 7 years.

The Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support (CUTIS) Project is a 5-year (2016-2021) Canadian development assistance initiative designed to lower poverty in Ukraine through increasing exports from Ukraine to Canada and investment from Canada to Ukraine. The project funded by the Canadian Government through the Global affairs Canada and implemented by the Conference Board of Canada in partnership with the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce.

The CUTIS project implements U CAN EXPORT Support Program in five priority sectors: clothing, footwear, furniture, confectionery, and IT services.

CUTIS project is looking for Canadian Project Support Assistant

PROJECT SUPPORT ASSISTANT – CUTIS Toronto
Full-time – 40hrs/week (contract position)

Immediate Supervisor: Canadian Project Director

Assignment:
The Project Support Assistant provides a variety of administrative and professional support services related to the effective and efficient operation of The Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support (CUTIS) Project, which is a five-year development assistance project undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada (GoC) provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC), from February 9, 2016 to February 1, 2021.

Duties and Responsibilities:

1. As directed, assist the Project Coordinator and Canadian Project Director to carry out research (or data mining) activities to collect information on the both Ukrainian Companies interested in selling their products or services to Canada and Canadian companies interested in purchasing from or investing in Ukrainian companies.

2. Assist Canadian Project Director to develop a work schedule for the tasks comprising the Activities assigned to CUTIS Toronto.

3. Assist Canadian Project Director to develop a strategy for conveying key data, information and updates related to the content of various Ukrainian and English-Ukrainian bilingual website portal and CUTIS website.

4. Coordinate, expedite and submit material for posting on various portals and websites to Digital Content Administrator for posting.

5. Maintain a data base (using CRM or Excel) of all of the Ukrainian companies’ and Canadian companies’ contacts, including email addresses, telephone numbers and sector information.

6. Manage the availability of all office supplies. Create requisitions and expedite deliveries as required.

7. Administer and source the necessary maintenance services for office equipment.

Skills:
• a good command of language skills in speaking, and reading English and Ukrainian;
• a basic understanding of data mining;
• a working familiarity of business, trade and investment terminology;
• a working knowledge of standard business processes such as filing and record keeping;
• a functional familiarity with basic computer programs and electronic equipment operation
• Ability to write reports
• Ability to prepare Time Sheets, Expense Reports, etc.

General Attributes:
• Computer literate
• Self motivated, a team player, independent, resourceful
• In possession of a valid Canadian passport

Compensation and Benefits:
CUTIS offers a competitive salary. (contract position)

We thank all applicants, but only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

How to apply:
If you are interested in this position, please submit your résumé to:
Attention: Canadian Project Director
The Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support (CUTIS) Project
145 Evans Avenue
Toronto, OntarioM8Z 5X8
E-mail: bohdan@cutisproject.org

CUTIS represented Ukrainian apparel manufacturers at Canada’s leading clothing and textiles exhibition

From August 19 to 21, the products of nine Ukrainian apparel manufacturers were presented at the Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada, the biggest international sourcing event focused on the Canadian and North American Apparel, Textile, and Fashion sectors.

In Toronto, CUTIS experts and the Canadian TFO expert invited by the project will present Ukrainian companies’ samples that are part of the export support program U CAN Export:

Ukrainian apparel products were presented at ATSC for the second time. Last year, five Ukrainian brands participated in the ATSC fashion show.

Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada is the great option to meet thousands of apparel & fabric buyers, sourcing directors, designers, merchandisers, retail chains, department stores, and more from Canada, the USA, and the world.

In total, more than 500 manufacturers from more than 30 countries participated in the exhibition in Toronto.

After Toronto, the exhibition will take place in September in Europe and then in Miami, the USA.

ATSC features three days of sourcing, free seminars, and panels, fashion shows, networking, and inspiration.

The Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support (CUTIS) project is a 5-year (2016-2021) Canadian development assistance initiative designed to increase exports from Ukraine to Canada and investment from Canada to Ukraine. The project funded by the Canadian Government through the Global Affairs Canada and implemented by the Conference Board of Canada in partnership with the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce.

Apparel is one of the priority areas for the project. CUTIS implements U CAN EXPORT Support Program in five priority sectors: clothing, footwear, furniture, confectionery, and IT services.

Ukrainian clothing aroused great interest among Canadian buyers and retailers – CUTIS Apparel Mission

From 1 to 7 August, seven Ukrainian clothing manufacturers, selected by experts from TFO Canada, visited Canada in the framework of the Apparel Mission, organized by the CUTIS project. Canadian experts gave preference to women-owned companies and companies implemented environmental standards. The mission was held in two Canadian cities – Toronto and Montreal.

During the mission, Ukrainian apparel companies had several business meetings with leading European clothing suppliers on the Canadian market. Business negotiations with Canadian retailers were also arranged. Besides, Ukrainian business had a chance to meet with Canadian apparel brands representatives.

The following companies participated:

Ukrainian products have sparked keen interest from Canadian buyers and retailers. The Canadian business highly commended the quality, interesting portfolios, and attractive prices of Ukrainian clothing.

According to Olga Shtepa, CUTIS project coordinator, thanks to the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) and the abolition of import duties, Ukrainian clothing has 18% advantage on the Canadian market compared to imports from such powerful global players as, for instance, China. Therefore, Ukrainian clothing can and should be presented and successfully sold on the Canadian market.

‘The interest of the Canadian companies in the Ukrainian apparel is very high, several participants of the mission received trial orders. Now everything depends on the Ukrainian manufacturers, their ability to use the opportunity to develop cooperation with Canadians and expand exports to the extremely promising Canadian market,’ Olga Shtepa said.

The Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support (CUTIS) project is a 5-year (2016-2021) Canadian development assistance initiative designed to increase exports from Ukraine to Canada and investment from Canada to Ukraine. The project funded by the Canadian Government through the Global Affairs Canada and implemented by the Conference Board of Canada in partnership with the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce.

Apparel is one of the priority areas for the project. CUTIS implements U CAN EXPORT Support Program in five priority sectors: clothing, footwear, furniture, confectionery, and IT services.

In August 2018, with the assistance of the project, eight Ukrainian apparel manufacturers took part in the international exhibition Apparel Textile Sourcing Canada, which united more than 500 apparel manufacturers from more than 20 countries.

In July 2019, Ukraine House Toronto official opening guests enjoyed the Fashion Show of six famous Ukrainian apparel companies. RITO and Andre Tan companies, which participate in CUTIS export support program U CAN Export, also took part in the show and presented their latest collections.