GTA: Gateway to Canadian and American markets
By José Francisco Schuster
Brazil is not an emerging market, it is an emerged market. That was the report brought back by a trade mission organized by the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA), which visited São Paulo and Curitiba, and included the presence of Mississauga’s Mayor, Hazel McCallion.
This trip consolidated, for the members from the public and private sector an “extremely positive” view of the Brazilian market. “It is a market that requires relationship building. We made initial contacts with companies and associations and we want to build on these relationships. Maybe next year we will go back to Brazil”, said the president and CEO of the GTMA, George Hanus.
The Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance is a public-private partnership and non-profit organization created by the communities and municipalities of the Greater Toronto Area, a region of 7,200 square kilometres with 29 municipalities, and home to 6 million people. It was created to work with companies from around the world to encourage them to establish themselves in the GTA and to set up subsidiaries and manufacturing operations, to work with the Canadian and US markets. In recent years, the focus has been on the key sectors of information and communication technology, digital media and digital gaming; clean technology (wind energy, solar energy); food processing; advanced manufacturing and nuclear sector.
In its first ten years (1999-2009), the GTMA brought 67 companies to the GTA. Of these, 46 are still active and provide 3,200 jobs. They contribute $5 million dollars a year in property taxes and the employees added $300 million last year to the economy. In 2010, another 10 companies landed and this year seven companies are confirmed.
Mr. Hanus says the image of Brazil has always been positive with Canadian companies, like Brascan (today known as Brookfield), which has been active in the country for decades. He observes, though, awareness of the country has grown in recent years, since former Brazilian president Lula Da Silva built an image of the country as a very progressive one and open to change. “Personally, ethanol impressed me, once it made Brazil basically energy independent. That’s a tremendous boost, you don’t have to import too much oil”, he said. Further, Brazil found huge oil and gas fields off the coast, deep in the ocean, requiring new technology.
With regular trips going to the US and Europe, besides five already to India, when the GTMA decided to do a mission to Latin America, “Brazil was the obvious choice because of the huge size and importance”. In this second trip to Brazil, the group visited the Futurecomm show, the largest digital media show in Latin America, where meetings with companies and associations took place. Later, they went to Curitiba, where they had meetings with ICT and green technology companies. One of the main outcomes was the hiring of a representative in Brazil to team up with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to look at other opportunities with Brazilian food manufacturers; and to work independently for at least six months and organize individual trips. “A food trip as a group is to be determined”, said Mr. Hanus.
“We want to encourage Brazilian companies to go international. It would be nice to see more of them, especially the mid-sized, go international, and the GTA would be an entry point to the Canadian and US markets”, finished the president of GTMA.
The Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA): http://www.greatertoronto.org
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