Export Development Canada (EDC) has opened its first corporate branch overseas, in Singapore.

The export credit agency, which issues loans and guarantees to firms purchasing Canadian goods and services, says the branch will allow it to negotiate and underwrite deals with companies in some of its biggest and most targeted markets.  

EDC is targeting Asian companies in the energy and cleantech, extractive, IT, and transportation industries. After the failure of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to pass with the US, this is a sign that the Canadian government is upping its efforts to trade with Asia, even as its neighbour’s interest wanes.

“Asia as a whole is a dynamic region that is growing at a phenomenal rate, and as a result, business here often happens at a rapid pace. EDC’s Singapore branch is designed to provide real-time financial solutions to help Canadian companies tap into that world-leading growth,” says Mairead Lavery, senior vice-president, business development, at EDC.

She adds: “At the same time, EDC will be developing new financing relationships with major Asian companies that control some of the world’s largest supply chains with a view towards helping grow the number of Canadian businesses within them.”

Last year, EDC helped facilitate 35% of Canada’s trade in goods with Asia, providing financial assistance to more than 1,300 countries. Bilateral trade between Canada and Asian countries was worth C$170bn in 2016.

Canada’s trade minister, François-Philippe Champagne, says the corporate office will help grow this already sizeable trade.

“This will be a launching pad for Canadian companies to explore the tremendous opportunities in the Asian market, as they receive the support of EDC and the Trade Commissioner Service. The office will be a key piece of the Government’s strategy to grow Canada’s trade footprint in Asia,” he says.

While this is the first corporate office EDC has launched outside of Canada, the ECA has representative offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Bogotá, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Lima, Mexico City, Monterrey, Santiago, Moscow, Johannesburg, Dubai, Istanbul, London, and Düsseldorf.