Food growers, harvesters and producers in British Columbia have successfully established a market for traditional and innovative food products in North America and Europe.
At the same time, B.C. is rapidly increasing exports to growing markets such as China, South Korea and the emerging ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region.
The agrifood and seafood industry exports $3.9 billion to 157 markets worldwide. Buyers around the world recognize British Columbia for its high-quality food products and strict safety standards. With a strong reputation for quality produce and a strategic geographic location on the West Coast of Canada, B.C. agrifood producers are in a position to continue expanding exports in a growing global market.
Agrifood export opportunities exist around the world, and some key markets have the potential for increased purchases from our exporters. In 2017, 90% of the province's agrifood export value went to our top five-markets - the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
The United States market is well established and it is British Columbia's number one agrifood products market. In 2017, the U.S. received 77% of agriculture exports, worth $1.2 billion, and 60% of seafood exports, worth $777.3 million. Exporters have an opportunity to build on B.C.’s strong reputation for quality food products and to grow sales in emerging high-value products.
A new generation of innovative producers are breaking ground, focusing on high-quality, value-added products and exploring niche products, such as natural health products.
Learn more about British Columbia’s export opportunities in the United States.
Given British Columbia's strong reputation for high-quality products and food safety regulations, along with Japanese consumers’ interest in western foods, opportunities exist for exporters to develop our presence in the Japanese food service industry, particularly in seafood, fruit and natural health products. Canada and Japan also have an organic equivalency arrangement that allows certified organic products in Canada or Japan to be sold as organic in either country.
Learn more about British Columbia’s export opportunities in Japan.
China is expected to become the world’s largest importer of agricultural and food products. The country’s rapidly expanding middle class presents excellent opportunities for our agrifood producers.
China’s increasing interest in safe and secure agrifood products has resulted in demand for our products. The Chinese mainland has become the second largest international market for our food products, with 2017 exports of more than $138 million, excluding seafood. The Chinese mainland is the second-largest market for our seafood industry, with $256.6 million exported in 2017. Seafood exports, particularly crab, geoduck clams, hake, shrimp and prawns and herring, are top Canadian performers. Canadian seafood is known for its food safety, quality and health benefits.
Some products are considered luxury goods and are consumed by the expanding higher-income population of China.
Hong Kong eliminated tariffs on wine in 2008, creating one of the largest wine markets in the world. Our seafood products continue to be a major export commodity to Hong Kong, valued at $33.3 million in 2017.
Learn more about British Columbia’s export opportunities in China.
Agrifood is a developing opportunity for exporters to South Korea. South Korea has a wealthy middle class, many of whom have been educated overseas. These individuals have developed a taste for western-style food products such as cheese and wine that are not ordinarily part of the Korean diet.
There are opportunities to expand exports of our agrifood products to Korea, including seafood, berries and wine. The Canada – South Korea Free Trade Agreement makes trade between the two countries easy. As of January 1, 2017, more than 90% of Canada’s exports are now eligible for duty free access to South Korea.
Learn more about British Columbia’s export opportunities in South Korea.
The countries of Southeast Asia offer large markets that are rapidly becoming more affluent and urbanized. The region is home to many world-scale companies and high-end grocery chains that would make excellent potential partners for our exporters.
Thailand imported $3.2 billion of seafood in 2013 with their top suppliers being the US, Taiwan and China. B.C.’s high quality seafood and shellfish can attract many of these buyers. In Singapore and Malaysia consumers are looking for healthier, sustainable foods, a market in which our agrifood producers excel.
British Columbia already has cultural and business links in many Southeast Asian countries, this coupled with our favourable geographic location on the Pacific coast means we can supply these growing markets faster and more economically than marketplace competitors.
Learn more about British Columbia's export opportunities in Southeast Asia.
Watch this short video on British Columbia’s Agrifoods advantages.