0:05 Can you give us an overview of the Chinese agriculture market and Canada's exports in this sector?
3:38 What are the challenges for Canadian companies trying to break into the Chinese food market?
6:31 How can the Trade Commissioner Service in China help Canadian companies that are interested in the Chinese market?
If you're a Canadian SME and have questions about doing business in China, please send us your questions by email at [email protected]
All services of the Trade Commissioner Service are FREE of charge to qualified Canadian clients.
Can you give us an overview of the Chinese agriculture market and Canada's exports in this sector?
I think the factors that are really driving the change in consumption patterns, consumption of food and beverage patterns in China are urbanization, the growing middle class, and the rising incomes of the middle class. So we are seeing more and more consumption of proteins in China, meat and fish, so traditionally, China has been a consumer of pork, and they still largely are a pork consuming country, but we are seeing a diversification on the types of meat that Chinese people are consuming. We see more beef being consumed, more poultry, wider variety of seafood, including crustaceans. This creates a lot of opportunities for countries around the world, to sell high quality meat and seafood to China, but also creates a lot of opportunities related to live stock productions. So if it's not the finished, ready to eat product, it could be the primary inputs such as animal feed, genetics and other technology related to livestock production. We are also seeing a robust growth in dairy; the dairy consumption has leveled off somewhat in terms of the growth rates. But in certain categories, we are still seeing fairly robust growth, for example, new HT milk, baby formulas is a big one, and yogurt. So I think when I've to encapsulate the characteristics of the changes in the Chinese market, I think we are seeing something similar to what we see in the west. Where more and more people are busy and time-poor, so they are demanding convenience food, they are eating out more. But at the same time, people want to consume healthy foods, so I think for example, if you can market your product as a ready-to-eat or something that can be prepared fairly quickly, but at the same time, you can stress the health characteristics of the food, I think that type of product can do very well in China. So for Canada, we have a very strong reputation in China for our agricultural products, we have strong reputation right around the world. We are number 5 exporter of agriculture and seafood products, and 2014 we exported about $56 billion to over 180 countries around the world, and China is our number 2 market, so roughly the 10% of the $56 billion or 5 and half billion was destined for China. As I said, we have a very strong reputation in China. For example, the wheat that we sell to China is used in the production of the top bakery products. The barley that we sale to China is used in the top breweries to produce very high quality beer. The canola seed is used to produce one of the world's healthiest edible oils, and as well as the canola meal is used in apiculture and in dairy in China, and it is recognized for its excellent qualities. So we have a strong reputation and I think that reputation is expanding and it is going to cover a wider range of products, so Canada is well-known for our seafood, out cold water shrimp, our lobster, our crab, our fruit as well: Canadian cherries and soon Canadian blueberries will be available in the Chinese market. Our beef is highly recognized, ice wine is being recognized as being a unique Canadian product, water, honey, confectionery, maple syrup, a wide range of products. So Canada's reputation is strong and it is growing.
Q: What are the challenges for Canadian companies trying to break into the Chinese food market?
A: China is a very exciting, growing market, but it’s not without its challenges. So there are a few things that Canadian companies should be aware of, number one is market access. Not all products, not all agri-food, seafood and beverage products have access to the market. For example, package food, beverage, generally, these products will have easy process to get market access. But for meat and for plant based products, there’s a negotiated process that is required. So it’s very important for companies to check with the trade commissioner service, to see what the status is for market access in China. Another important area is technical regulations, so I’m talking about things like food safety standards and labeling. We have seen in the past where products enter the Chinese port, but are destroyed because they ...