Have the services provided by the government benefited our clients? Yes, they have benefited some of them. Not everyone knows a trade commissioner. We talk to our clients about federal services to help them, such as support services, and some use those services. It is my understanding that the Quebec team of trade commissioners is small and that it cannot help everyone. We cannot look after every Quebec firm that knocks at our door and provide them with a list of customers in countries with trade commissioners. I think that the number of Quebec exporters that receive assistance from trade commissioners is still low.
The timing of trade commissioners' involvement in the business is another important aspect. Our chamber of commerce has a team that promotes exports, and we are not the only ones in Quebec. For those who do not know this, there are about twenty of these teams across the province that provide these services across Quebec.
Our job is to get businesses ready to export. Once they are ready, the trade commissioner can do a market study and introduce them to potential partners in a given market. It is my understanding that it is not the trade commissioner's job to establish the strategy or ensure the logistical success or regulatory compliance of the businesses.
That is why we suggested earlier that the federal government work more closely with us, as we are the ones preparing businesses to export. Some of them contact trade commissioners when they are not yet ready, and then they are not deemed a priority either because they are not ready or because of the sector in which they operate. In these cases, we are prepared to help them.
As other witnesses mentioned, there is a multitude of barriers. We understand why Canada enters into free trade agreements. That said, a business's day-to-day reality is altogether different. Just because an agreement was recently signed with Korea, companies are not suddenly going to go halfway around the world and spend a week in Korea. For example, we have clients who do business with Brazil or Saudi Arabia even though Canada does not have a free trade agreement with these countries, because they believe they are relevant markets. Now that the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the CPTPP, has been signed, an agreement that includes Chile and Peru, will these clients look to Chile and Peru rather than Brazil? I am not sure that it is warranted by the market size.
There are a great deal of barriers. Businesses do not necessarily have the requisite capabilities and skills within their organizations. You could have the best invention in the world, but there are many barriers that could prevent you from achieving the desired results in a given market. The main factors to consider are logistics, being surrounded by good partners, and in the case of sanitary products, for example, obtaining the required certificates. These businesses need support, they need to know how to get the help they require and what resources are available to them.