B.C.’s Arc’teryx finds Export Success in Korea
During her 2014 Asia trade mission, Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat paid a visit to the Busan, Korea retail store of Arc’teryx, a British Columbia company enjoying export success in the province’s fourth-largest goods export market.
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Based in North Vancouver, Arc’teryx is a global design and manufacturing company specializing in technical high-performance outerwear and equipment. They distribute their outerwear and equipment through more than 3,000 retail locations worldwide, including branded stores in Europe, North America and Asia. Arc’teryx was recently recognized at the 2014 B.C. Export Awards where they took top honours as Exporter of the Year.
Minister Wat’s visit to Korea marked the first time a trade minister from Canada has gone to Korea since the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA) was signed in September. British Columbia exported $1.8 billion in goods to Korea in 2013 and that number is projected to grow in the wake of the CKFTA deal, providing clear benefits for companies doing business there.
“With over 16 fully branded stores and another 42 retail partners, Korea is one of Arc’teryx’ largest and most significant markets,” said Arc’teryx general manager and president Vincent Wauters. “Without a doubt, this trade agreement gives us a real competitive advantage. It will help increase the distribution of our B.C.-made products and support the ongoing growth of our local manufacturing operations.”
Ninety-five per cent of Arc’Teryx’ 700-person workforce is located in British Columbia. With overseas market opportunities expanding and demand for their made-in-Canada high-end outdoor clothing growing, the company hired 200 new employees in 2013 and expects to add up to 60 staff to their headquarters each year and up to 250 more in manufacturing by 2017. Plans are also underway to open a new state-of the-art manufacturing facility in the province’s Lower Mainland area.
An important aspect of the work done by British Columbia’s Ministry of International Trade is providing support to B.C. companies like Arc’teryx who want to expand their business to overseas markets. When companies are ready for international growth, a team of export development specialists can help them assess and develop their potential in key international markets, and take advantage of international agreements designed to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade. The ministry’s export team was also able to connect Arc’Teryx with the Province’s Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training to assist in recruiting and training for the highly specialized workforce the company requires.