Report on Focus on Trade with Canada with Dr. Brent McKenzie, Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada


The CanCham Focus on Trade with Canada took place on Thursday, November 8th, 2018 at the Trompete Restaurant, Peldu iela 24, Riga, as a working session in the form of a “roundtable” type discussion to discuss how the CanCham intends to develop trade opportunities and strategic partnerships with Canada. We thank the Canadian Embassy for sponsoring the event.
The meeting was chaired by Ed Kalvins, CanCham Chairman and Richard Hunter, the CanCham Trade Facilitation Group Leader. Twenty eight people participated, including Jude Pecora representing the Canadian Embassy in Latvia and Andris Alksnis from the Latvia Investment and  Development Agency. 

Our special guest was Dr. Brent McKenzie, Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The University of (Guelph is Canada’s premier agricultural university located a short distance from Toronto, which is to Canada what the Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (Latvijas Lauksaimniecîbas universitâte in Jelgava) is to Latvia. Dr. McKenzie is currently an Associate Professor (Tenured), Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies, College of Business and Economics. Courses taught include Marketing Strategy, International Marketing, Advanced Marketing, Dark Tourism (First Year Seminar), Marketing Management (MSc), Qualitative Research Methods (MSc), Theory of Management (PhD), Global Business Today (MBA – Distance Education) and Readings Courses (Sports Marketing; Advanced Dark Tourism). He has particular interest and knowledge of conditions in the Baltic States and can relate to our efforts to seek strategic partners in Canada. 

Also participating in the meeting was Inese Valdheima, the Chairperson of O fonds ( who is working with Dr. McKenzie and introduced us to her project. Dr. McKenzie, along with one of his graduate students, has written a case study about how they have/are rebranding their organization, and they are hoping to benefit from contacts with Canadian firms relating to cancer education/prevention. This serves as a good example of how we are creating strategic partnerships between Canada and Latvia.
Andris Alksnis advised that there are funds available for travel to trade events internationally, but that these are limited to approximately 50% of airline costs for delegations involving 2 or more companies.

This is the third working session in the form of a “roundtable” type discussion where the CanCham wishes to develop a plan to help its members develop business opportunities with Canada, and is a follow-up to our meeting of 

The September 10th meeting had identified the need to work in smaller groups so as to use synergies between participants, optimize resources and focus on results. The October 29th meeting then expanded on this idea and identified the importance of providing a package of complete services. We also identified the importance of Destination Management Coordinators or Companies (DMC’s), that is, a professional services company with local knowledge, expertise and resources, working in the design and implementation of events, activities, tours, transportation and program logistics.

While the concept of the DMC’s is normally applied to the travel or tourism industry, it was felt that is can also be applied to import and export applications. The CanCham is now building on the idea of having DMC’s that will be assigned by the CanCham to serve as points of contact in the regions where they operate, and service the professional fields where they have expertize and contacts, and are prepared to serve a coordinating function. A policy regarding DMC appointments will be presented to the Board for approval and implementation within the next month or so. This will mean that Canadians wishing to do business in Latvia or Northern Europe will be assigned a reliable partner to work with, while those seeking to work with the Canadian market will have appropriate contacts available to them.

For pictures, see 

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