Thank you 2016

Dear Members and Friends,

As 2016 comes to a close, I have the pleasure to share with you the highlights of a very busy and successful year for the BCBC. For the second year in a row, we have held a significant number of high-caliber events, and have continued to build on new initiatives to serve you better.

We have added a partnership with CHOQ-FM/GrandToronto.ca and Aline Ayoub HR to those signed previously with the Alliance Française, CanCham BeLux, and MTFX, and we are exploring several others as well.

2016 has been a tumultuous year for Belgians worldwide, and in Toronto in particular. It began with some great news, as just before the New Year, Brussels Airlines announced that they would be launching a new direct flight between Brussels and Toronto; they further approached the BCBC to help with the promotion of this new flight, beginning with an Executive Luncheon in January. We continued to work closely with Brussels Airlines in anticipated March 27th launch of this new service.

Alas, as we all know, March 22nd was a dark day for Belgians as Brussels was the target of coordinated terrorist attacks striking Brussels Airport and the Maelbeek metro station in downtown Brussels. That evening, the BCBC organized a press conference and candlelight vigil at Nathan Phillips Square during which we shared statements from H.E. Raoul Delcorde and ourselves, followed by Mayor John Tory sharing a few words of his own; we are particularly grateful to Mayor Tory for having taken time away from the memorial for his predecessor, Rob Ford, which took place simultaneously at City Hall. The following week, our media partner, CHOQ-FM, provided members of our community with the opportunity to reflect on these atrocities and what it means for Belgians, both at home and abroad.

andre-tori Continue reading

Report on Invest Ottawa session on CETA Sept 12

Invest Ottawa held the third event of its new international trade program series last Monday Sept 12th and the topic this time was the upcoming Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA). This was a timely event as CETA is the main item on the agenda of the upcoming Canada-EU summit in Brussels Oct 27th and 28th. The session was well attended with participants from a variety of fields from business, academia, government, finance, logistics to NGO’s, all very interested in the development of exchanges and cooperation between Canada and the European Union. Continue reading

The European Union’s June 2016 international trade figures  

According to preliminary estimates just published by Eurostat, the Euro area recorded an international trade surplus in goods of €29.2 billion in June, while the surplus for the EU28 as a whole was €7.7 billion.

The first estimate for euro area (EA19) exports of goods to the rest of the world in June 2016 was €178.8 billion, a decrease of 2% compared to June 2015. Imports from the rest of the world stood at €149.5 billion, a fall of 5% compared to June 2015. Intra-euro area trade fell to €150.2 billion in June 2016, down by 1% compared with June 2015. Continue reading

Business with Belgium, April 29, 2016

Christian Frayssignes, Vice-President, Belgian Canadian Business Chamber set the overall tone for the Business with Belgium seminar by reminding attendees that as a small, stable and geographically strategic marketplace, Belgium is an ideal entry point for Canadian exporters to expand into the European Union.

In her brief comments on how the EU functions, Nadiya Nychay, Partner, Dentons Europe LLP, explained that the European Union consists of 28 member countries, 19 of which share a common currency, the Euro and is home to 500 million consumers. Unlike NAFTA, the EU is a customs union with an integrated system of trade and business regulations. However, individual member states still have their own legislation regarding areas over which they hold domestic competency.

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Regarding the topic of choosing a strategy for expanding into Europe, Xavier Van Overmeire, Regional Head of the International Trade Group, Dentons Canada LLP suggested three basic approaches  — direct representation through distributors or agents, licensing technology or formal partnerships. Each brings with it various legal challenges, which can be further complicated by the European civil law regime, similar to the one used in Quebec. It is different from the English common-law tradition found in the rest of Canada. Continue reading

Canada’s March 2016 international trade, with focus on Belgium

Statistics Canada’s latest data shows that Canadian exports to Belgium, which amounted to $312 million in January and went down to $147 million in February, were down again in March to $124 million. Canadian imports from Belgium on the other hand, amounting to $145 million in January and to $164 million in February, went up to $237 million in March. As we can see, our bilateral trade has its ups and downs and it will be interesting to follow its evolution in the coming months.

Overall Canadian exports fell 4.8% to $41 billion in March while imports declined 2.4% to $44.4 billion, widening Canada’s trade deficit with the world from $2.5 billion in February to a record $3.4 billion in March. Canadian exports decreased in 10 of 11 sections, with motor vehicles and parts (-6%), consumer goods (-4.6%) and metal and non-metallic mineral products (-5.4%) decreasing the most.

Canadian imports declined in 8 of 11 sections, the decreases led by consumer goods (-4.6%) and aircraft and other transportation equipment (-20.4%) but these were partially offset by higher imports of energy products (+13.5%).

Geographically, Canada’s exports to the United States fell 6.3% while imports were down 4.8%, narrowing the trade surplus with the U.S. from $2.1 billion in February to $1.5 billion in March, the lowest surplus since December 1993. Exports to other countries were down 0.2% while imports increased 2.2% and as a result, the Canadian trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. widened from $4.6 billion in February to $4.9 billion in March.

Detailed data on products/countries is available from Solimpex upon request.

© May 2016 All Rights Reserved by Christian Sivière, Solimpex Montréal  Christian.siviere@videotron.ca

Source: Statistics Canada

Canada’s November 2015 international trade, with focus on Belgium

Statistics Canada’s latest data shows that Canadian exports to Belgium, which amounted to $233 million in September and went down to $158 million in October, were down again in November to $139 million. Canadian imports from Belgium on the other hand, amounting to $267 million in September and to $213 million in October, remained at a low $212 million in November. As we can see, our bilateral trade has its ups and downs and it will be interesting to see how it will evolve in the coming months.

Overall Canadian exports increased 0.4% in November while imports were down                   0.7%, reducing Canada’s international trade deficit from $2.5 billion in October to $2 billion in November.

Total Canadian exports rose to $43.3 billion, led by motor vehicles and parts (+5.9%), metal ores and non-metallic minerals (+20.4%) and forestry products and building and packaging materials (+5.5%). These gains were partially offset by lower exports of energy products (-6.6%) and consumer goods (-4.5%). Total imports declined to $45.2 billion, the main declines being in electronic and electrical equipment (-2.9%), energy products (-6.4%) and consumer goods (-1%). These were moderated by a 2.5% increase in industrial machinery and equipment.

Geographically, Canadian exports to the U.S. rose 1.3% but imports were down 0.1%, increasing Canada’s trade surplus with the U.S. from $1.7 to $2.1 billion. Exports to other countries declined 2.2% and imports by 2.1%, reducing Canada’s trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. from $4.2 billion to $4.1 billion.

Canada’s main trading partner, the United States saw their November exports reach $182.2 billion (1% below October) and imports $224.6 billion (1.5% below October), lowering the U.S. international trade deficit from $44.6 billion to $42.4 billion. U.S. exports of industrial supplies and materials and consumer goods decreased the most, while capital and consumer goods led the decrease in imports.

Christian Sivière, Import Export Logistics Solutions, Montréal                                   Christian.siviere@videotron.ca   All Rights Reserved January 2016

Sources: Statistics Canada, U.S. Census Bureau

The Belgian Canadian Business Chamber Announces New Strategic Partnership with MTFX

The Belgian Canadian Business Chamber (BCBC), which fosters bilateral relationships between Belgium and Canada, has today announced a new strategic partnership with MTFX, one of the largest foreign exchange and payment solutions providers in Canada.

BCBC logo - marbleToronto, Ontario, Canada December 16, 2015 – The BCBC is pleased to announce a partnership with MTFX. The new partnership will enable the members of the BCBC to gain access to currency exchange and international payment processing capabilities at substantially lower costs than those offered by main street banks. The partnership will allow members access to MTFX’s web base platform, providing a single point of access for currency exchange and fast and efficient international payment services.

“The Belgian Canadian Business Chamber is always looking at ways to provide more benefits to our members and we are pleased to be able offer our community significant savings for fast, efficient international payment processing and currency exchange. In today’s economic reality of globalization – whether it be for large multinationals, SMEs or even individuals – these international transactions are taking place every day and will increase once CETA is finalized, particularly for SMEs who are the most likely to benefit from this historic accord. In our efforts to promote bilateral relations between Canada and Belgium, and taking this global economic reality into account, we are pleased to enter into this partnership with MTFX, which we believe will be of great benefit to our members,” stated André van der Heyden, Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer, Belgian Canadian Business Chamber.

The BCBC is based in Toronto and works to foster contacts and relationships for members who share an interest in developing business and trade opportunities between Canada and Belgium. The aim of the BCBC is to raise awareness of Belgium in the economic and media capital of Canada. For additional information, visit www.belgiumconnect.com.

MTFX_Logo_2014_V1_REVISED“This partnership with the Belgian Canadian Business Chamber is an extension of our existing value proposition as a “one-stop-shop” for international payments and currency exchange services. This integrated service approach is unique in the payments industry,” said Arif Harji, Chief Market Strategist, MTFX. “We see ourselves as facilitators for our customers and partners with a blend of “high-touch” and “high-tech” solutions.”

Launched in 1996, MTFX is one of Canada’s oldest and largest non-bank providers of currency exchange services and international payment solutions. MTFX’s success has been driven by offering transparent and competitive currency exchange rates as well as global payment solutions that are unmatched in the industry. MTFX prides itself on outstanding service levels that are driven by great people and great technology. For additional information, visit https://mtfxgroup.com.

Canada’s international trade with focus on Belgium, the August 2015 figures

Statistics Canada’s latest data shows that Canadian exports to Belgium, which amounted to $176 million in June and went down to $93 million in July, went back up to $153 million in August. Canadian imports from Belgium on the other hand, amounting to $235 million in June and to $236 million in July, were down to $179 million in August. As can be seen from these figures, our bilateral trade has its ups and downs and it will be interesting to follow its evolution in the coming months. Continue reading

Canada’s international trade with focus on Belgium, the July 2015 statistics

Statistics Canada’s latest data shows that Canadian exports to Belgium, which amounted to $423  million in May and decreased to $114 million in June, decreased again to $93 million in July. Canadian imports from Belgium on the other hand, amounting to $168 million in May and up to $235 million in June, were up again in July, though slightly to $236 million. As we can see from this, our bilateral trade fluctuates a lot and it will be interesting to see how it will evolve in the months ahead. Continue reading