The prime minister also announced an expansion to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service
MISSISSAUGA, Ont.—The federal government will spend $50 million over five years to help small and medium-sized businesses export goods to emerging markets for the first time.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the program, which aims to help as many as 1,000 exporters a year, on March 18.
Businesses that receive assistance will have to match the government money for activities such as trade missions and research.
“We understand that the majority of private-sector jobs are created by small and medium-sized enterprises,” Harper said.
The measures will help those businesses to “to seek out emerging markets for their goods and services, generating economic growth, increasing our global competitiveness, and creating jobs as a result,” he added.
The prime minister also announced an expansion to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, which provides advice to entrepreneurs.
There are more than 160 trade offices in Canada and around the world, although in recent years the Conservative government has eliminated some trade consulates in the U.S. as part of broader cost-cutting measures.
In 2012, the government also shuttered some international trade offices in Canadian cities and towns across the country. Those offices helped local companies market their goods and services abroad while attracting foreign investment to various regions of the country.
Two years later, however, the Conservatives opened up four new trade offices in China meant to help small- and medium-sized firms looking to expand their Asian exports. The new offices brought the total number of Canadian missions in China to 15.