THE newly-appointed chairman of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines-(CanCham) Cebu Chapter is aiming to strengthen the trade relationship between Cebu and Canada.

Under his stint, Felix Tiukinhoy Jr., said he hopes to increase Canadian investments in Cebu by inviting foreign investors to look at the province as their next business expansion destination in Asia.

Similarly, he plans to link Cebuano entrepreneurs to their counterparts in Canada for local businessmen to explore opportunities and make their products prominent in the Canadian market.

“There are plenty of economic opportunities that Cebu and Canada can explore in the field of retirement, agribusiness, and education (student exchange program), among others,” said Tiukinhoy, who is the president and chairman of Cebu-based Virginia Foods Inc. (VFI).

Tiukinhoy noted Canada has a ready market for Cebuano products because of the large Filipino community--almost one million Filipinos--already living and working there. Likewise, Canada is also an ideal country where Cebu universities can tie up with institutions, especially for student exchange programs in the field of medicine.

“We are looking at increasing the membership of CanCham Cebu here so more Cebuano entrepreneurs can take advantage of the two-way trade,” said Tiukinhoy.

“We are encouraging businesses to look beyond Manila and look for opportunities in Cebu, Davao and the other cities to boost trade between Canada and the Philippines,” said CanCham president Julian Payne in previous interviews.

Bilateral trade between Canada and the Philippines reached CAD$1.8 billion) in 2014, up 2.5 percent from 2013.

Canada has identified priority sectors in agriculture, aerospace, defense and security, information and communications technology, infrastructure, mining and sustainable technologies.

In celebration of Canada’s 148 birthday today CanCham mounted a one-day Canada Trade Fair at the Ayala Center Cebu Activity Center where 10 exhibitors will be showcasing their products and services. Companies joining are VFI, Judphilan Corp., Cebu Doctor’s University Hospital, Taft Property, Sterling Bank, Ultimate Visa Corporation/Syntech Properties, Wideworld Education Services, Manulife, and PLDT.