11 June 2014
Chandler, May 28, 2014 – As part of the Gaspé Peninsula lobster commercialisation project, GIMXPORT accompanied a delegation of seafood processors to Seafood Expo Global held in Brussels, Belgium last May 6 to 8. It is the world’s largest event in the seafood trade world.
Composed of Bill Sheehan (of Dégust-Mer and E. Gagnon et Fils, Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé), Martin Lapierre (of Crustacés de Malbaie, Saint-Georges-de-Malbaie and La Crevette du Nord Atlantique inc., Anse-au-Griffon) and Dawn Murray (of Producteurs de homards de Grande-Rivière), the processors’ delegation was accompanied by Marc-Lionel Gagnon, a European market development consultant and former commissioner with the Canadian Embassy in Spain, and Gino Cyr, André-Pierre Rossignol and Pascale Allain, all three members of the GIMXPORT team.
A number of activities were organised in parallel to Seafood Expo Global (formerly the European Seafood Exhibition), which brings together more than 25,000 buyers, suppliers, media members, and professionals from 145 countries, including a reception hosted by the Québec Government Office in Brussels. At the event, Québec’s Delegate General, Caroline Émond, invited journalists and buyers to come and sample seafood products from Québec. It was another way to raise awareness in Europe about Québec seafood products.
Benefits for Gaspé Peninsula seafood processors
Bill Sheehan, of Dégust-Mer and E. Gagnon et Fils, pointed out that his participation in Seafood Expo Global was beneficial for his enterprise. “This international trade show aims to help us find new clients and markets while consolidating the clients and markets we already have. For our company, the 2014 edition proved to be a resounding success. It’s a good trade show, well prepared.”
As for Martin Lapierre, he took part in the event as sales manager at Crustacés de Malbaie and to promote another enterprise of which he is a shareholder, La Crevette du Nord Atlantique inc. The latter company processes northern shrimp and sells it on foreign markets, including Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium. Lapierre participates in Seafood Expo Global every year to maintain personal contact with his regular clients. “This year, I noticed there was definite interest for northern shrimp, but unusual uncertainty in terms of rising market prices.”
Canada-Europe free trade agreement: Gaining a competitive edge
Given the obvious strategic advantage of the Canada-Europe free trade agreement that will soon come into effect, GIMXPORT General Manager, Gino Cyr, believes that the Gaspé Peninsula must continue to be present every year at Seafood Expo Global. “As soon as this agreement comes into force, nearly 96 percent of all seafood products will become duty free,” he added. “For some products, tariffs currently account for about 20 percent of the cost and this often tips the scales against exporting to Europe.”
The mission to Seafood Expo Global and the Gaspé Peninsula lobster commercialisation project on the whole would not have been possible without the financial support and the collaboration of Canada Economic Development, the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation, the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire and Agrifood Export Group Québec-Canada.
It is important to point out that GIMXPORT offers enterprises in the Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine administrative region a coaching service to help them export, market and commercialise their products and services so they can contribute to the region’s sustainable development by increasing foreign trade. In addition to introducing various special projects, the organisation offers its members coaching services as well as information and training sessions, and organises trade missions for groups and individuals.