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8 Reasons New Brunswick is Focused on China

The Opportunities NB (ONB) Export Development Team is once again heading east to participate in the latest Trade Mission to China. As part of the mission, New Brunswick will hold a number of events to be attended by the delegation of 17 companies and their Chinese counterparts.

These events include two Export Café and luncheons in Beijing and Shanghai; the JD Fresh on-stage presentation and group visit to its retail store; the HEMA group meeting event; and various govt-2-govt meetings and conversational opportunities.

ONB’s Director of Export Development, Suzanne Turmel, has collected the top eight reasons why the ONB team, and this province, is focused on creating even stronger ties with China.

  1. NAFTA and market diversification

The United States is by far the largest market for New Brunswick exports. The uncertain status of the North-American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) means now is the time to diversify. Successful exporters are both innovative and well diversified.

  1. Over 130 New Brunswick companies are interested in the Chinese market

ONB and our partners at DAAF regularly work with these businesses on market access, market approaches, and market development initiatives.

  1. China is already New Brunswick’s third largest export market

China is our largest export destination after the U.S. and India. New Brunswick exports to China continue to rise, with $89 million reported in 2016 (up from $86 million 2015). January to October 2017 saw that total rise to approximately $100 million. At less than 1% of total New Brunswick exports of $10B, there is much room for continued growth.

  1. Success doesn’t happen overnight

Success in China requires a long-term sustained market development effort by government/ONB and our many interested exporters. As Luc Jalbert, Co-Founder of Prelam Enterprises noted during a recent chat, “This will be my fourth time in China over the past year; that’s what it takes.”

ONB and its clients recognize that it takes several trips to develop relationships needed to do business in China. The sales cycle is long and requires hard work.

  1. China’s middle class is rapidly growing

Economic growth has positioned the Chinese economy as one of the fastest-growing and largest economies on the planet. Urban Chinese consumers have seen a rise in their disposable incomes, which according to a 2016 Business Council of Canada report, means a “desire for wealth and financial services management, higher-quality agricultural products, education, cleaner technology and environmental improvements — growth opportunities for Canadian companies.”

  1. New Brunswick staples are a good fit

There are a variety of markets of interest in China including personal care products, mother/baby clothing, electronics, ocean mapping technology, French fries, beer including premium craft brews, cleantech, salmon and other seafood products, and building and construction products (especially wood-based). New Brunswick companies are well positioned to deliver in these sectors.

  1. Chinese consumers support international brands

Here, we’ll refer again to Luc Jalbert:

There is very strong preference there for international brands versus domestic, at least within the growing middle class. So there is a surge in retail locations specializing in products like ours, made in New Brunswick.”

Indeed, the Chinese consumer is very brand conscious, and many people in China regard foreign brands as ‘prestige’ products. In addition, Canada as a ‘brand’ itself is well respected in China.

  1. Opportunities exist online

China has the most Internet users of any country and the fastest-growing e-commerce market. Major Chinese e-commerce portals like and Fresh are in search of premium quality international products to list from reputable companies. Large, well-known New Brunswick brands have real opportunities in China’s online space.

ONB works to facilitate New Brunswick companies’ growth and market diversification efforts via a variety of services, including identification of market leads through trade missions and events. Find out where the ONB team is headed next by visiting our Events page.