Canadian Packaging

Opportunity Knocks


October 28, 2008
by Richard Pileski and Mark Liberman

The EDC alliance
When Export Development Canada (EDC) created a new business development sector team to support the plastics and packaging sector in 2006, one could already foresee a rough ride ahead for the industry.

Sure enough, two years later, we’re witnessing record numbers of manufacturing jobs disappearing from Ontario and Quebec, keeping in line with the global trend of shrinking manufacturing sectors in industrialized nations as they lose ground to emerging markets like China and India. A strong Canadian dollar means that the United States has become an even stronger competitor for us. And the general downturn in the economy, and the current credit crisis, has left a lot of you in the packaging sector struggling to keep your operating cash-flow steady.

Fortunately, establishing a strategic PAC (Packaging Association of Canada) partnership has helped EDC become closer to the industry and better understand the trends, issues and opportunities of this unique sector. EDC currently supports more than 170 clients in our Plastics and Packaging business development sector, representing some $487 million in export transactions.

“Over 90% of GN’s sales come from shipments to export markets. For almost 40 years, as a small Canadian capital goods manufacturer, we’ve had to develop the competitive advantage that allows us to supply products on a global basis. At various times that edge has clearly been enhanced by EDC. They understand the world of capital goods and have been a willing partner in opening up new export channels with us. We see EDC as an important enabler to our future growth.”
Richard Pileski
President, GN Packaging Equipment

Size Doesn’t Matter But Market Intelligence Is Critical
If you don’t think you’re big enough to export or to use EDC, take note that most of EDC’s 170 packaging clients are small- and medium-sized businesses. In fact, EDC specializes in helping businesses with less than $5-million in sales.

Market intelligence is one of EDC’s key offerings, which can provide useful commercial information for promising foreign markets for your company, especially in the opportunity-rich BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Some packaging companies are setting up plants in China or India to augment their traditional base in Canada. In these cases, EDC can help you finance the expansion, so you can build your presence in a new market more easily.