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Online platform matches direct from farm-gate exporters with buyers

RBC has launched its new Global Connect platform
march 2019 randy lott rbc global connect
Randy Lott (Ron Walter photograph)

RBC has lunched an online platform called Global Connect to take advantage of growing global trade opportunities.

The platform and the mysteries of exporting were revealed to 90 farmers at an RBC meeting in Moose Jaw.

“Currently less than five per cent of Canadian small/medium enterprises are exporting outside of Canada,” said Mark Driscoll of RBC trade finance. 

“When you compare that to Germany or the U.K., up to 30 per cent of similar sized businesses are taking advantage of opportunities in other countries.”

New trade agreements with Europe and Asia resulted in “many of you seeing that opportunity in new direct buyers asking for you to sell your product direct to another country as opposed to through larger buyers.”

Hurdles keeping business from exporting include access to working capital, finding markets, finding buyers, ensuring payment and documentation.

Using its global banking network, RBC has developed an RBC trade club to help find a match with partners who want to buy Canadian products. The trade club is offered as a free resource to anyone.

“It’s like Internet dating,” Driscoll said.

The trade club allows exporters to identify country markets, select buyers, determine duties, value-added taxes and any restrictions or permitting.

“Your primary concerns are getting paid and controlling goods until the buyer receives them.”

Bank support includes financing letters of credit that guarantee payment and shipping documents to allow control of goods.

Managing risk with insurance of accounts receivables can also involve Export Development Canada (EDC), a federal Crown Corporation.

Randy Lott of EDC said the corporation operates like a bank, assessing and insuring risks, often partnering with a bank in financing, insurance and bonding.

“If some form of your revenue is coming from outside of Canada you should be talking to us,” said the former Moose Jaw resident.

EDC insures political risk, even risk of repudiation of shipment. 

Sam Woods of Calgary-based logistics firm Jori International outlined 10 steps in export documentation in detail. His firm supports the shipping and documentation process.

He cautioned one slip-up in documentation can see a shipment delayed or rejected by overseas customs inspectors.

Ron Walter can be reached at ronjoy@sasktel.net