Brazil and Canada: nations that come closer together through business

Promoted by CCBC, the virtual business round brings together companies from both countries, which operate in the food and beverage market, and opens opportunities for international partnerships

By Sérgio Siscaro

One more time, Chamber of Commerce Brazil-Canada (CCBC) brought together Brazilian and Canadian companies operating in the food and beverage segment. Based on a successful initiative, held at the end of last year, CCBC promoted in June a new edition of its Virtual Business Round: Food and Beverage, through which Canadian manufacturers and brands had access to Brazilian companies interested in the distribution of their products in the local market.

The Virtual Round consisted of 127 meetings between the companies, held over a period of six hours. The event was attended by large Brazilian importing companies, all interested in the potential sales of Canadian products here in Brazil, such as Grupo Pão de Açúcar, Carrefour, Grupo Muffato, Supermercado Bahamas and Rede São Paulo, among others. On the Canadian side, companies such as Aliments Krispy, Citadelle, Galloping Cows and Moosehead Breweries were present. As a result of the meetings held in the Business Round, there is an opportunity for companies of deepening their contacts and commercial relationships, and eventually close partnerships.

Positive perceptions

“The CCBC team was very efficient in meeting potential buyers and very professional in their interactions with us, even in the post-event,” said the director of business development at Citadelle (from the province of Quebec), Alex Laroche. This was also the perception shared by the sales and marketing director of Confluence Distilling (from Alberta), Jamie Hilland.

The founder and CEO of Canoe Global Trading, Bill Coleman Jr., also considered CCBC’s initiative positive, and took the opportunity to meet with ten companies. “The meetings were the best we’ve had this year. There was an extremely high level of quality in the meetings with the companies, with the large distributors, and with the supermarkets. It was fantastic”, he declared.

He explained that the main focus of the contacts was to seek Brazilian distributors for products such as icewine, whisky, and seafood. In pursuit of this target, Coleman needed to know a little more about the potential of the Brazilian market. “We have been doing business with Asia for 35 years, but this was the first time we sounded out the Brazilian market for potential business partners. We already knew that we would have to work together with large distributors in Brazil to promote Canadian products in the country, because we consider that they are still little known in the market. After the round, I am optimistic that we will do business with at least one or two Brazilian companies”, he said.

New suppliers

Analyzing from the other side, the Brazilian the experience was also considered positive: “I had only one meeting, but the experience was motivating. If there is another round with new producers, I would certainly like to participate”, evaluated the product manager of World Wine, Gabriela Shibata. The purchasing supervisor at OXQuim, Larissa Torresia, evaluated that the meetings held during the round “were productive and important for us to meet new suppliers”.

In the evaluation of the commercial and import manager of Grupo Muffato, Renata Cortese, the Business Round represented a great opportunity to get to know the Canadian producers better. “Some things have really impressed me. We had been looking for a low carb beer supplier for some time, and Canada is one place which I would never look. But I met with a company that commercialize this product, and we are in talks,” she said.

She pointed out that the opportunity to meet with Canadian companies was positive, due to the fact that it presented the country’s possibilities. “These rounds allow us to get to know better what the potentialities of the country are, taking in account what it produces. In my opinion, it was quite valid to participate,” she said, adding that from now on the normal negotiation process begins, with freight calculations, taxes, and other factors involved in the operation.

And the exchange intensifies

Just like last year, the timing of the Business Roundtable held in June was right. In reality, Brazil and Canada continue to be not only important partners, but they are increasing their commercial exchange.  Throughout the first half of 2021, the sum of exports and imports between the two countries totaled US$ (FOB) 3.07 billion, which represents an increase of 7.2%, if compared with the same period of 2020.

Brazilian sales to Canada jumped 16.4%, from US$ (FOB) 1.85 billion, in the first half of the year, to US$ (FOB) 2.16 billion, between January and June 2021. Brazilian imports of Canadian products, on the other hand, had a slight retraction of 9.78%, due to the still uncertain picture of the economy at the beginning of the year. The total went from US$ (FOB) 1.005 billion, in the first semester of 2020, to US$ (FOB) 907 million, in the corresponding period of this year. However, the signs of economic recovery, and the implementation of initiatives that bring companies from the two countries closer together, offer an optimistic scenario for the rest of the year for Canadian exports to Brazil, as well.