Careers in International Trade

About us | A day in the life

Who we are

We are the International Trade component of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.

Our mandate is to enable and contribute to Canada's prosperity through global commerce.

What we do

International trade officers:

  • promote Canada’s commercial and economic interests bilaterally and multilaterally,
  • help Canadian companies succeed internationally,
  • build networks essential to Canada’s international commerce and economic prosperity,
  • help shape Canadian trade policy, and
  • promote foreign investment in Canada.

Areas of work in international trade

Officers in all three occupational groups - Foreign Service Officer (FS), Policy Officer (EC), and Commerce Officer (CO) - have an opportunity to work in a number of complementary fields in Canada and abroad such as:

Client service delivery

Our raison d’être is to support the Canadian business community and deliver world-class client service. Trade Commissioners offer services to help Canadian businesses in the international marketplace. Officers help Canadian companies prepare for international markets, assess companies’ potential in foreign markets, find qualified contacts and help solve trade-related problems.

Business sectors group

Sector specialists play a vital role liaising with our regional offices, overseas offices and sector associations in Canada. They analyze Canada’s industry sector capabilities, interests and growth potential, and advise trade commissioners at Canadian embassies and consulates abroad and senior management on priority sectors and regions.

Investment promotion

Officers attract foreign direct investment to Canada, inform foreign companies about establishing their operations in Canada, compile investment briefs, organize visits of foreign companies, chair meetings, and provide guidance to Canadian provinces and municipalities.


Officers in this area help Canadian clients access international technology networks, partners and resources to enhance their ability to compete, innovate and secure new markets. They also manage Canada’s bilateral STI cooperation agreements and their associated committees and working groups with a view to ensure concrete results and to facilitate industry engagement.

Bilateral commercial relations

Officers who work in the area of bilateral commercial relations develop trade knowledge, provide analysis and advice, and liaise between other government departments in Ottawa and Gatineau, DFATD’s regional offices and offices abroad, and foreign missions. They also prepare briefs, coordinate briefing books, draft ministerial correspondence and organize ministerial trade missions.

Trade negotiations and dispute settlement

Officers in the Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch develop Canada’s trade policies and positions related to, and participate directly in, the negotiation and implementation of bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade agreements. They also advise and engage in dispute settlement procedures under these agreements, and prepare the ground work for high-level international meetings and ministerial statements.

Market access barrier resolution

Officers in this area of work develop strategies and participate in engagement with foreign governments to protect and enhance international market access for Canadian business clients, including exporters of goods and services, as well as investors who encounter barriers and problems in foreign markets.

Trade policy development

Officers develop, analyze, and present strategies to senior management on a range of issues such as trade and investment issues, barriers, and negotiations, and their linkages to other policy areas (e.g., sustainable development).

Import and export controls

Officers working in the area of import and export controls develop policies, regulations and recommendations to the Ministers of International Trade and Foreign Affairs, and work to ensure the effective operation of Canada's systems for import and export controls, in compliance with Canada's domestic and international trade obligations.

International law

Officers who work in the Trade Law Bureau are practicing lawyers. The Trade Law Bureau advises the Government of Canada of its rights and obligations under international trade law. It also provides advice on the negotiation and implementation of multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements, and represents Canada in disputes under those agreements.


Officers who work in communications provide advice and prepare material in collaboration with other divisions for consideration and use by the Minister of International Trade and departmental officials. They ensure that communications across the department are well coordinated and effectively managed, and respond to inquiries from domestic and international media.

International trade portfolio coordination

Officers in this area work closely with Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), Canadian crown corporations, as well as with central agencies, to help ensure that Canadian companies have access to trade support tools such as financing, insurance, risk mitigation and contracting services.