Support from a Partner Could be the Difference between Success and Failure

As part of its mission to bring importers and exporters together to conduct business, TFO Canada regularly sends out e-blasts to let importers know about upcoming international trade missions. One of the importers who received an e-blast about the Costa Rica Buyers Trade Mission was Miguel Pinto, founder of Worldwide Foods Corp, a company that specializes in importing fresh produce to Toronto, Canada. When Pinto received TFO Canada’s email, his immediate thought was that it was a good opportunity to do business with Costa Rica. He had been on other trade missions with TFO Canada, and he quickly realized that such an alliance was good for him.

“When you are a part of a TFO Canada Trade Mission, there are no questions about payment because of the organization’s reputation. Exporters trust TFO Canada, and know that buyers are serious about doing business. You are also able to negotiate better prices, and the quality of the products is better.” The businessman adds, “TFO Canada gives importers access to markets and new vendors.” But another benefit of going on a trade mission with TFO Canada, is the positive atmosphere they create for the importers, who develop a good rapport with each other.

These days, consumers are exposed to different types of fresh produce in supermarket chains. One category that’s growing globally is exotic fruits such as papayas, guavas, persimmons, rambutan, tamarinds, passion fruit, lychees, and jackfruit. According to Freshfel Europe, “In 2013, global imports of exotic fruit were 146 percent higher than in 2002, more than double the change for total fruit.” Costa Rica is among the Top 15 global producers of exotic fruits. This growth in exotic fruits is good for companies like Worldwide Foods Corp. Because of the relationship that Pinto has with TFO Canada, he is able to learn about Buyers Trade Missions to different countries, which gives his business a competitive edge.

Miguel Pinto has been in business for 20 years. In his opinion, it’s a better use of his time to schedule the appointments before the trade mission. Before going on the Costa Rica Buyers Trade Mission, he created an online profile in the reservation application, then suppliers were able to book appointments with him. He had the opportunity to reject or accept each booking, and he booked about 20 appointments. By the time he arrived in Costa Rica, Pinto’s focus was on closing deals. He entered into a sourcing contract for rambutan from one supplier. The shipments come by air, so the size of each shipment depends on how much available space there is on the aircraft. But during the three years since participating in the trade mission to Costa Rica, Pinto has increased the amount of rambutan he buys from the supplier by 40 percent each year. The importer sells the rambutan to wholesalers in Toronto, as well as to supermarkets that cater to Asian consumers, so you get an idea of the quantities that he imports.

The businessman would attend another Costa Rica Buyers Trade Mission because he sees a lot of potential there. Pinto has been on other trade missions, and he discovered that when TFO Canada is not involved, it’s very different without their support. When TFO Canada organizes the trade missions that he participates in, potential suppliers are more receptive to him. “It’s always a good experience working with TFO Canada,” says Miguel Pinto.