Humans of the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS)

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Trade Commissioners are the heart and soul of the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service. We are on the ground in over 160 cities around the world. We are the Humans of the TCS. Get to know us a little better.

#HOTCS: Nina Dube, Johannesburg

Nina Dube

There was a Canadian company in my priority sector, information technology (IT), that had been trying to connect with the South African government to sell their product to the public sector, which can be a very difficult market to penetrate. I worked with this company to organize an event that brought them together with one of their very specific targets, one of the South African security forces...

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#HOTCS: Andrew Smith, Ottawa

Andrew Smith

I was raised in the Manitoba countryside. East Selkirk is a town of 250 people. My parents owned a grocery store and I knew everyone in the neighbourhood. But I was drawn to the idea of working overseas in a foreign culture. My children, by contrast, have been bouncing from country to country,...

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#HOTCS: Marie-Pier Brunelle, Warsaw

Marie-Pier Brunelle

My job is to help Canadian businesses looking to expand to Poland to form business partnerships with local companies in the defence and security and oil and gas sectors. As this is my first posting abroad, the work is a constant source of challenges and forces me out of my comfort zone....

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#HOTCS: Hermawan, Jakarta

One of my happiest moments working as a Trade Commissioner was when I succeeded in getting market access for a product after months and months of negotiations with the Indonesian government. When I saw the product available in the market several months later, I just felt super ecstatic! ...

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#HOTCS: Cynthia Bernier, Rio de Janeiro

When I was in China, there was a Canadian company that was about to sign a big contract while our Prime Minister was visiting. But, at the last minute, their Chinese partner said they no longer wanted to sign the agreement. Because of my ability to speak Chinese and my familiarity with the culture, ...

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#HOTCS: Maximo Hurtado, Madrid

I was taking the subway in Madrid, when all of a sudden I saw an announcement on one of the screens saying that there was going to be a tender for LED signage for advertisements on one of the subway lines. And I remembered that a Canadian company had contacted me around ten years prior indicating th...

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#HOTCS: Pinar Ozdemir, Ankara

When Canadian companies call us and tell us they’re travelling to Turkey, our suggestions sometimes include cultural sensitivity. For instance, in Turkey you don’t say Mr. Abdullah. If the person’s first name is Mike, you say Mike Bey (the honorific for men). If it’s a woman, you say Sarah Hanım (th...

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#HOTCS: Jan Scazighino, Rome

Let’s say a Canadian supplier has been selling to the Italian market, but one of its product lines isn’t as successful because of competition from the United States. Well, guess what? Suddenly the tariff for that product line drops from 15% to zero, because CETA is now in force. And now that product...

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#HOTCS: Jordan Reeves, Mumbai

Here, I was on my way to play Santa for the consulate’s annual staff holiday party. India is a diverse country and is home to many religions and festivals. However, I don’t think those two guys expected to see Santa Claus walking the streets of Mumbai with a red bag over one shoulder. As Trade Commi...

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#HOTCS: Andree Cooligan, Helsinki

There was a shipment of Saskatoon berry plants from Canada stuck at the border in the United Kingdom. The shipment wasn’t being allowed into the EU because it was determined to be a novel food to Europe. So, the company in Saskatchewan gets this information from the freight forwarder, and after havi...

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#HOTCS: Ryan Ward, Nairobi

For Canadian companies, there’s a gap in understanding “why” they should be thinking about Africa instead of “easier,” more traditional markets, like the US and Europe. Canada doesn’t really have a history here outside of the extractive sector, so I spend a lot of time at trade shows bringing a pers...

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#HOTCS: Tina Shih, Los Angeles

My last assignment before coming to L.A. was in India: a very important emerging market, where there’s lots of opportunity, but the culture and the regulatory and business environment can be very challenging for Canadian companies. So I started the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) in India prog...

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#HOTCS: Bunleng Men, Phnom Penh

When I’ve made a perfect match, when a deal has been concluded between clients and our local contacts, and when I hear feedback from clients about our important role in the process, to me, those are my proudest moments as a Trade Commissioner. I’ve been lucky to have helped Canadian companies for ov...

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