Canada is helping its plastics and packaging equipment makers aggressively target the Mexican market for export business - both in person and via cyberspace.
At the Sept. 3-6 Plastimagen trade show in Mexico City, the red and white Canadian flag flew over a pavilion of more than two-dozen companies, some of which arrived in the Mexican capital after first participating in a government-organized trade mission to Monterrey and Guadalajara.
Seven companies, mostly mold makers, participated in all or part of that mission, the second of its type in the past 15 months, according to Marie-Claude Erian, relationship manager for Export Development Canada's Plastics & Packaging Sector in Ottawa. EDC has conducted similar missions for automotive suppliers.
``Canadian companies tend to be small and medium-size enterprises, with limited marketing resources. We fast-tracked for them,'' she said, noting that EDC booked more than 100 matchmaking meetings in the three cities for the seven firms on the mission. EDC, along with Industry Canada and the country's Department of Foreign Affairs & International Trade, organized the mission.
Erian, with the help of a consultant, worked in advance to identify Mexican companies that might have interest in buying the types of goods offered by the participating Canadian manufacturers. Ten plastics and packaging machinery firms made a similar trip to Monterrey and Mexico City in June 2001, in conjunction with a Mexican packaging trade show. Erian said two firms from the most recent mission told her they already are preparing quote proposals for Mexican firms they met on the trip.
EDC at Plastimagen launched a Web site to help interested parties identify and contact Canadian suppliers of plastics and packaging machinery and molds. The site, www.edc.ca/plastpack, offers a database of some 200 Canadian manufacturers and distributors, about one-third of such companies in the country.
Web users can search by various parameters, including company name, product categories, or end markets. The site also offers a form to facilitate scheduling meetings, as well as application forms for financing.
``Financing can be an impediment, especially in countries like Mexico,'' Erian said, ``so EDC can help.'' She said her group works with different financing partners, including the U.S. Export-Import Bank.