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Setting Your Sights on New Markets: Europe

Friday, August 15, 2014

So, you’ve got a great product or service and you see a demand for it outside of North America — it’s time to set your sights across the Atlantic and consider Europe.

As long-time trading partners, Canada and Europe play important roles in their respective economies. In 2013 alone, the value of bilateral trade in goods between Canada and the European Union was €58.8 billion ($85 billion CAD) and bilateral trade in services totalled €26.9 billion ($39 billion CAD). Containing 28 member states from Europe, the European Union is an extremely influential international entity.

With over twenty years of experience in trade, former NSBI Trade Development Executive, Kelly Carter, offers some advice for when and how to approach new market expansion.

When is a good time to start looking at a new market for expansion?
Companies will usually begin to investigate a new market opportunity because there is either a specific opportunity in that market for their product/service, i.e. an identified distributor, a specified demand; or the company feels they have sufficient sales/distribution networks established in North America and in order to continue to grow their business they need to look at new markets.

Many Nova Scotia companies are taking a closer look at Europe and exploring advantages for their products and services in the European market.

What are some of the differences between exporting to Canada and the USA vs Europe?
Companies should always undertake due diligence and research in order to understand the different requirements between markets. Are there specific labelling or certification requirements? For instance, in Europe it is mandatory for certain products to carry the CE (Conformité Européenne) Mark. This is a level of certification that states that the product is assessed before being placed on the market and meets EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements.

Why is Europe a good market for Nova Scotia exporters?
With trade infrastructure already in place, in-market recognition that Nova Scotia produces high quality goods and services, and similar cultures and forms of government, Europe is an ideal market for Nova Scotia exporters. It is also Nova Scotia’s second-largest trading partner and largest export destination. With 500 million consumers, the European Union is the largest market in the world.

Stay up-to-date with our e-newsletter about upcoming trade initiatives in Europe and around the world.