Why Export

Tapping into international markets gives you the potential for immense business growth. British Columbia’s strategic location on the west coast of North America and our supportive business environment mean businesses of all sizes and across industry sectors can benefit from export sales.

Improve Your Business and Your Bottom Line

Expanding into international markets allows your company to increase sales and profits. It also offers:
  • increased potential for long-term growth
  • reduced vulnerability to fluctuations in the domestic market
  • greater economies of scale
  • larger sales base with which to offset investments in research and development
  • improved productivity and innovation from exposure to different technologies, processes, and cultural environments
  • easier access to labour and materials through international supply chains


Ideal Global Location

Most British Columbia exporters focus on the U.S. market, which receives 42 per cent of all our exports. But our strategic location gives us additional international potential. We have the shortest sea route between North America and Asia and a world-class port system. The international trade market is set to get bigger, and container traffic is expected to quadruple across all West Coast ports by 2020. Our ongoing investments in transportation infrastructure will continue to support exporters.

British Columbia businesses are taking advantage of this streamlined access to Asia. We exported an average of $4.4 billion worth of goods and services to Japan each year from 2006 through 2011. Over the same time period, emerging markets in Asia have seen enormous growth. For example, British Columbia businesses exported more than three times as much to China and twice as much to South Korea in 2011 as in 2006.


Opportunities for Businesses of all Sizes

These export opportunities are not just for large corporations. In fact, 84 per cent of British Columbia exporters are companies with fewer than 50 employees. In some cases, smaller companies have the advantage of more easily tailoring their products for niche markets.

As a group, small- and medium-sized companies generated $29.3 billion in exports – 38 per cent of the total value of goods exported from British Columbia in 2010.

From natural resources such as natural gas and metallic mineral products to knowledge-based industries like software and digital media, businesses in many sectors are finding export opportunities.


Supportive Government

British Columbia participates in trade shows and business-to-business events around the world. We also establish trade and investment representatives in all of our key markets in: We constantly seek out new opportunities to help businesses increase their exports.

The government of Canada supports exporters through trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA), and by negotiating new agreements to open additional markets and make exporting easier and more cost-effective. The federal government also offers several trade incentive programs to help you start exporting.

Learn more about trade agreements

Find out about trade incentives programs

Did You Know?

  • China is poised to become the world’s largest economy, set to surpass the United States in market size by 2020.
  • India – positioned to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2030 – has a middle class seven times the size of Canada’s population.
  • Japan is the third-largest economy in the world today by nominal GDP and British Columbia's most important trade partner outside of North America.
  • Korea is a developed and dynamic economy with strengths in technology, manufacturing, and knowledge-based services.