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United around the globe to foster international trade and the advancement of women in business.


OWIT-Toronto wants to provide you with current and valuable news and resources on a regular bases. We do this through our site as well as through our monthly newsletter. Sign up today to receive these in your inbox.

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019 10:23 AM | Anonymous

    The Canada Vietnam Trade Council hosted a "CPTPP: Vietnam" event on March 11, 2019 at the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre, where OWIT board member Julie Nguyen had the opportunity to have a fireside chat with The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, on various topics from access to capital for Canadian SMEs to government support for underrepresented small business owners such as women, Indigenous people, and youth. Speakers included representatives from Global Affairs Canada; Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; Export Development Canada (EDC); Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC); and Commercial Counsellor, Trade Office, Embassy of Vietnam in Canada.

    The minister held that the Vietnam-Canada partnership is strong, expressing her hope to connect businesses of the two sides to promote two-way trade. She said the Canadian side can fund its enterprises’ activities to research the market and join trade fairs to seek business opportunities in Vietnam. Statistics showed that in 2018, Canada exported 1.02 billion CAD worth of goods to Vietnam, while importing 5.38 billion CAD worth of commodities from the country.

    Jay Allen, deputy head of CPTPP negotiation team of Canada, highlighted the strengths of the Vietnamese market, including the strategic position in Southeast Asia, young population, and high GDP growth of more than 6 percent annually since 2014. Allen said cooperation opportunities between the two countries are abundant in agriculture, aquatic farming, infrastructure, green technology and ICT.

    Meanwhile, Dr. Nguyen Dai Trang, Director of the Canada-Vietnam Trade Council, said since the CPTPP was ratified, Canadian firms have paid greater attention to Vietnam. She revealed that the council will introduce the Vietnamese market to Canadian businesses through the organisation of and participation in events, while also helping delegations study the Vietnamese market.

  • Thursday, February 21, 2019 11:35 AM | Anonymous

    Business Women’s Trade Mission to Monterrey, Mexico,

    Huge Success

    TORONTO, ON – A group of 11 Canadian business women representing multiple industries who participated in a trade mission to Monterrey, Mexico, this month returned to Canada with some immediate business and leads.  Spearheaded by the Toronto chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT-Toronto), the mission provided opportunities for female business owners and professionals to export and expand globally, as well as to showcase the contribution of women in international trade, in historically male-dominated industry sectors, in both Mexico and Canada.

    “This was one of the best organized trade missions I have ever experienced because it was all about entrepreneurs,” said Myrna Bittner, CEO and Founder, RUNWITHIT Synthetics.  “This mission’s spirit was to make things happen, to connect people, to progress things, and was not just political or diplomatic.  I gained amazing contacts that would have taken me a long time to find and I had incredible meetings. I might go back to Mexico next month.”

    Participants’ sectors included auto-manufacturing, IT, education, transportation, legal, international trade services and government. Coordinated by OWIT- Toronto Co-President Alma Farias, the initiative was facilitated by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service from Monterrey’s Canadian Consulate, in cooperation with the OWIT- Monterrey Chapter, the Ministry of Economy and Labour of the State of Nuevo Leon, and the Cluster TIC Nuevo Leon .

    “The trade mission led to a better understanding of the business potential for Canadian companies and has already resulted in business for some,” says Farias.  “It also inspired local amazing women entrepreneurs who now are planning a potential Mexican women trade mission to Toronto next year.  I am so proud that OWIT-Toronto has fostered a two-way inclusive trade deal with Mexico in this special year when both countries celebrate 75 years of bilateral relations.  And it could not have happened without the collaboration of our Canadian and Mexican partners.”

    Activities kicked off with a networking breakfast hosted by OWIT- Monterrey with guest speaker Rhonda Barnet, Immediate Past- Chair of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), and the first female Chair in the CME’s history. “We were able to showcase what Canada is doing to increase female participation in manufacturing through the excellent presentation done by Rhonda on the CME- program  #WE CanDoIt,” notes Farias.

    Individual business-to-business meetings were held with potential customers, suppliers and business partners.  Delegates also participated in conferences and meetings with local industry clusters, government and educational organizations, tours of various research and development facilities, and a visit to the Expo Manufactura trade show.  An evening reception held later in the week was hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce-Monterrey and Canadian Consulate with more than 100 local business people in attendance.

    “This trade mission was beyond everyone’s expectations and I’m convinced good things will come from it, “said Lyse Moreau, President and CEO, International Sew Right Co, a manufacturer of safety clothing. “I have already landed an order from the last meeting I had. I found everyone I met very proactive, and the trade show we attended was fantastic, with surprisingly good response.”

    The trade mission was the first initiative after an MOU was signed by the OWIT-Toronto and OWIT-Monterrey chapters in March, 2017 in the presence of the Canadian Minister of International Trade and the Consul General of Canada in Monterrey. Supporters of the trade mission included EDC, Global Affairs Canada, Bennett Jones and the Ontario government.


    About OWIT

    OWIT-Toronto (The Organization of Women in International Trade-Toronto) (www.owit-toronto.ca) is part of an international non-profit professional organization with chapters around the world (www.owit.org), dedicated to advancing global trade opportunities for women. 


  • Friday, February 01, 2019 4:56 PM | Anonymous

    Media Contact:

    Alma Farias


    alma.farias@tradepartners.ca www.owit-toronto.ca



    TORONTO, ON - Ten Canadian businesswomen from manufacturing, IT, service, education and government sectors will be travelling to Monterrey, Mexico for a week-long, unique trade mission the first week of February to explore business opportunities. Spearheaded by the Organization of Women in International Trade-Toronto (OWIT-Toronto), the mission is designed to encourage female business owners, professionals, executives and service providers to export and expand globally. It also seeks to showcase the contribution of women in international trade and women in some male-dominated sectors.

    “After the successful conclusion of the NAFTA negotiation process and a Canada-US-Mexico agreement was reached last year, this is a timely initiative that will assist early stage and growth-oriented manufacturing and service provider companies in getting an inside perspective on supply chain opportunities,” says Alma Farias, Co-President of OWIT-Toronto, who is leading the mission for OWIT-Toronto.

    Participants will receive a full program of meetings with representatives of clusters, industry executives and government officials who are instrumental in the business community, in addition to customized one-on-one meetings with prospective customers and business partners, a visit to the Expo Manufactura trade show, and a number of quality networking events. Rhonda Barnet, Immediate Past Chair of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), and the first female Chair in the CME’s history, will be a guest speaker.

    The trade mission is the culmination of a collaboration agreement signed between the OWIT-Toronto and OWIT-Monterrey chapters in March 2017 in the presence of then Minister of International Trade of Canada, Francois-Philippe Champagne and the Consul General of Canada in Monterrey at the time, Bez Babakhani. “OWIT is pleased to be leading the mission because both chapters signed this agreement with a determination to follow with actions and results,” adds Farias.

    Supporters of the trade mission include Export Development Canada, Global Affairs Canada, Bennett Jones and the Ontario government.


    About OWIT

    OWIT-Toronto (The Organization of Women in International Trade-Toronto) (www.owit-toronto.ca) is part of an international non-profit professional organization with chapters around the world (www.owit.org), dedicated to advancing global trade opportunities for women.

  • Monday, June 18, 2018 12:01 PM | Anonymous


    OWIT-Toronto is increasingly being invited to give input on free trade agreements. Most recently, in May, some members participated in a joint Global Affairs Canada and OWIT Roundtable for Women Entrepreneurs with Canada’s Ambassadors to Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico on opportunities in the Pacific Alliance. Moderated by OWIT-Toronto President Anita Agrawal, the roundtable featured overviews from Patricia Peña (Ambassador of Canada to Chile), Marcel Lebleu (Ambassador of Canada to Colombia), Gwyn Kutz (Ambassador of Canada to Peru and Bolivia) and Pierre Alarie (Ambassador of Canada to Mexico).

    The Pacific Alliance is a regional initiative created in 2011 by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru that seeks the free movement of goods, services, capital and people. As one of the first countries invited to become an Associated State of the Pacific Alliance, Canada is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with Alliance members as a bloc. Canada has comprehensive free trade agreements with all four Pacific Alliance members individually.

    The women-owned business attendees at the roundtable gave their input on what is needed to facilitate trade with the Pacific Alliance countries and posed specific questions about opportunities and challenges.

  • Monday, June 18, 2018 11:57 AM | Anonymous

    OWIT-Toronto  recently partnered with the Belgian Canadian Business Chamber (BCBC) for a joint event on CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union. Our President, Anita Agrawal, was among four panelists who, together, gave an excellent overview of CETA.  Owner of Best Bargains Jewellery and an exporter to over 20 countries, including those in Europe, Anita provided practical tips on how to sell abroad. These include:  hire a student to help do your research, access Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service for additional help, participate in trade missions,  attend chamber of commerce meetings to pick up tips, meet new contacts and find out about available government support, and visit the EU to start building relationships.


    The session was moderated by Christian Frayssignes, VP,  BCBC. Other panelists covered the benefits for Canadian companies brought in by CETA, which is a very progressive agreement (Andrew Defor, VP, Canadian International Council, TO Branch),  the government procurement chapter in CETA (Pasquale  Madonna, Sr Consultant, Trade & Customs, KPMG), the support available to Ontario exporters from the government (Romi Jaszczynski , Sr Export Advisor, Ontario Ministry of International Trade), and an overview of the Belgian market (Andre van der Heyden, VP & COO, BCBC).

    This was an information-packed event.  Don’t miss out on future ones!

  • Monday, January 22, 2018 5:44 PM | Anonymous

    TORONTO, ON – The Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) welcomes the recent announcement of two new initiatives to strengthen Canada’s approach to responsible business conduct for Canadian companies doing business and operating abroad, which aim to set a new global standard for Corporate Social Responsibility.  

    The first is the creation of an independent Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE), the first of its kind in the world. The CORE will be mandated to investigate allegations of human rights abuses linked to Canadian corporate activity abroad. The CORE will seek to assist wherever possible in collaboratively resolving disputes or conflicts between impacted communities and Canadian companies. It will be empowered to independently investigate, report, recommend remedy and monitor its implementation. The CORE’s scope will be multi-sectoral, initially focusing on the mining, oil and gas, and garment sectors, with the expectation to expand to other business sectors within a year of the Ombudsperson taking office. The second is the creation of a multi-stakeholder Advisory Body to advise the Government and the CORE on responsible business conduct abroad.

    “Canada’s leadership in strengthening responsible business conduct abroad reflects the values supported by Canada’s progressive trade agenda where all parties should benefit from economic development, and contributes to Canada’s reputation as an international business partner of choice,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, who made the announcement.

    “As supporters of Canada’s progressive trade agenda, OWIT is pleased to see Canada taking this leadership role in promoting responsible business conduct abroad,” says Susan Baka, VP-International, OWIT-Toronto.  “We have been providing input through various government channels on making trade more inclusive for more people and welcome these initiatives that further broaden Canada’s approach to inclusive trade and emphasize respect for human rights worldwide.”

    “The fact that this was worked on with different stakeholders including the Canadian Labour Congress is very positive, showing great support for this and demonstrating where the government is going on trade,” adds Tamaika Jumelle, VP, OWIT-Ottawa, who represented OWIT at the announcement in Ottawa, along with VP Ainsley Butler. “By setting new standards, this positions Canada to lead on progressive trade issues and also benefits societies and countries where Canadians do business.

  • Sunday, October 16, 2016 1:25 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 11, 2016) – A delegation of global trade experts representing policy professionals and women-owned businesses convened in Geneva, Switzerland to engage global officials as well as participate in a high-level panel at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum to urge the acceleration of women-owned businesses in global trade.  Leadership from the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) represented members from across the globe and chapters in Africa, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the United States during the week-long trade mission.

    For more details, click here.

  • Friday, September 16, 2016 11:00 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 15, 2016) – The Organization of Women in International Trade (“OWIT”) will be participating in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) largest annual outreach event which provides a platform for  participants  to  discuss  the  latest  developments  in  world  trade  and  to  propose  ways  of enhancing the multilateral trading system.  Taking place in Geneva September 27-29 and marking the 15th anniversary of this flagship event, the 2016 WTO Public Forum (www.wto.org)  will examine how the WTO can foster SMEs' participation into the global market.  It will also discuss how women can participate more fully in international trade and how they can overcome the constraints preventing them from reaping the benefits of trade.

    OWIT will present a panel on Shaping the Rules to Facilitate Active Participation of SMEs and Women in Global Markets on September 27.  Member panelists will share real-world experiences and insights on barriers to participation by SMEs and women-owned small businesses as well as success stories.

    As part of the Forum, OWIT will also have a display to promote the benefits of its international network. 

    “Since the Forum attracts over 2,000 heads of state and leading global businesspeople, academics and non-governmental organizations to discuss some of the major trade and development issues of the day, it represents an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of 

    OWIT and promote our offerings,” says OWIT President Andrea Ewart.

    Among these offerings are valuable OWIT webinars that provide timely, relevant and practical information on a broad variety of topics from top expert speakers in international trade and business, including issues specific to women's role in these fields. Fall topics include: 

    • The Cultural Considerations for Successful Business in Southeast Asia (Oct. 5)
    • How to Create a Risk Mitigation Strategy for Your Global Growth & Success (Nov. 2)
    • Doing Business in Africa (Dec. 7)

     Full details and registration can be found at www.owit.org/programs/webinars .

    About OWIT

    Founded in 1989, The Organization of Women in International Trade International (www.owit.org) is a voluntary, non-profit professional organization dedicated to advancing global trade opportunities for women through networking and educational programs. It is comprised of more than 2,000 members in local chapters operating in the Americas, Europe, and Africa as well as “virtual” chapter comprised of individuals who do not reside or work in localities with a local OWIT Chapter.

  • Friday, September 16, 2016 11:00 PM | Anonymous

    Look at what is going on with OWIT International!

    • Joining in Designing our Future
    • DC Extends Joint Programming Invitation
    • OWIT to Present at WTO Public Forum
    • New App Facilitates International Trade by Women
    • International Board Meeting to Future Panel on Inclusive Trade
    • OWIT and GroYourBiz Team Up to Support Women Entrepreneurs

    Download your copy here.
  • Monday, April 18, 2016 6:43 PM | Anonymous

    The federal budget included key provisions about Canada’s trade future, tying it to the growth of the middle class, an improved employment landscape, and the ability of companies to compete internationally.

    Among the highlights:

    • The government, which hasn’t made a final decision on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and is still consulting with Canadians, noted that the deal would provide opportunities to bolster Canadian trade with the Asia-Pacific region, enhance North American production and improve job quality in Canada
    • Ottawa stated its intent on forging a stronger trade relationship with significant emerging markets like China and India
    • The budget addressed Canada’s manufacturers, a sector which has struggled for more than a decade from intense competition and a high dollar, and promised to remove some tariffs and provide $9 million in tariff savings over the next five years to Canadian manufacturers in the consumer goods and transportation sectors
    • The Liberal government plans to hold public consultations on scrapping tariffs on food manufacturing ingredients other than supply-managed products. The government’s rationale is that eliminating tariffs on imported ingredients will bolster investment and job creation by sharpening the competitiveness of Canadian agri-food processors at home and abroad
    • Ottawa also aims to strengthen its trade remedy system by consulting with stakeholders and address unfairly traded goods entering the Canadian market, including through legislative amendments

    For more information about 2016 budget. Click here 

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