3 New CITPs in the food and beverage industry tell us how they’ve achieved career success


close up of man in the food and beverage industry holding basket of fresh vegetables

close up of man in the food and beverage industry holding basket of fresh vegetables

International trade is often seen by businesses and individuals as an activity – something that happens as part of a job role or an organizations’ transactional processes. But those who have the skills and knowledge to complete international transactions – from logistics to sales and marketing and trade finance – are all international trade professionals.

Trade is not only an activity of exchanging products and services across borders, but a true occupation and profession that takes a specialized set of knowledge, skills and abilities to perform.

The CITP designation was created to recognize the professional competence of those working in any industry within the global market. This article celebrates three successful Certified International Trade Professionals in the food and beverage industry.

Practical benefits of training and certification on businesses

In addition to the common benefits associated with earning a professional designation, such as expanding their network, gaining skills and confidence, and acquiring an additional layer of credibility, these individuals feel they have gained a lot more that’s helped them better contribute to their businesses.

A smoother workload, better communication with suppliers and coworkers, higher profits on a personal and company level, and a more complete understanding of international markets are all things these three CITPs have taken with them after earning their designation.

These individuals are also eager to give back to their community, now that they feel better equipped to help others achieve their goals in the international market, and have access to a platform that lets them share their experiences with the next generation.

Julia (Xia) Zhao, CITP – President, Raintree International Trade Co.

Julia (Xia) Zhao headshot

As president of Raintree International Trade Co., Julia (Xia) Zhao has become an expert in international trade with a focus on the food and beverage industry. While she was attending university, international trade became a trending topic and growing field, so she joined a company with a global focus right after graduation. She has been fascinated by the industry ever since.

In 2005, she had the opportunity to help her company expand further into the global market by traveling from her native China to Canada to represent her company there. It was not an easy road finding foreign suppliers, and she credits much of the difficulty to the language barrier. However, she overcame all of her difficulties with hard work and dedication, and achieved excellent results, bringing in revenue and increasing her own salary.

“Don’t just work hard. Educate yourself and work harder.” Zhao believes strongly in this message, and that is why she chose to complete the FITTskills program and apply for the CITP designation. She thanks her teachers for strengthening her skillset and contributing to her knowledge of the structure of a global market. She is more confident now and able to provide better service to her customers and suppliers. Completing the courses gave her a better understanding of the rationale behind decisions and their execution, and provided a significant boost to her ability to collaborate with her colleagues in different roles within the industry.

Now the president of her own company, she has extended their product line into food and beverages with distribution of Chinese cuisine in Canada and the U.S. She is amazed and thankful for the level of acceptance the products have received, and is glad that she can share the food she was raised on with people in other countries.

Expanding her business and creating value was a major motivation for her decision to apply for the designation. She is eager to help others who wish to start businesses in the current market, acting  as the first reliable supplier to help make their dreams come true.

“Earning the CITP designation definitely boosts my confidence and helps me to become more acceptable to the people who seek business opportunities. It makes my name more trustworthy and credible.”

With the added confidence and level of responsibility she has gained through her training and earning the CITP, she is driven to work even harder and continue to elevate herself and her business.

CITP designation banner image explaining what the certified international trade professional designation isWant to learn more about the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP®|FIBP®) designation? See why it’s the world’s most recognized designation for competency and credibility in global business.

Jose Fancisco Barajas Andrade, CITP – Trader, Bassett & Walker International, Inc.

Jose Fancisco Barajas Andrade headshot

Jose Fancisco Barajas Andrade, a trader with Bassett & Walker International, has been in business since the age of 15. Trading has been a natural skill for him since he was a child, and business remains his passion to this day. Even back then, he told his parents that he would one day sell products between countries, and he has indeed achieved that goal.

Jose is a very well-rounded individual when it comes to international markets. He has travelled to many different countries to witness firsthand the day-to-day life of processing and manufacturing plants. He has also taken part in the best food trade shows around the world in order to “understand the challenges of global trade.” His experiences allow him to identify opportunities for growth in the industry and make it easier for customers and suppliers to trade internationally.

Opening new markets is one of his greatest joys in life, and throughout his career he has worked with entrepreneurs, large corporations, logistics companies, and custom brokers from all continents. He has had exposure to every aspect of the supply chain, negotiation, and business development. Even with all of this exposure and experience, he still saw value in completing the FITTskills program and pursuing the CITP designation.

Jose says the FITTskills courses have helped him reinforce his knowledge and understanding of the difference between low and high context markets, and he feels proud to be part of a group that strives to create positive change in the international trade process.

He feels it is an honor to be recognized on an international level with this designation, and looks forward to the opportunities it presents to expand his network and “contribute international expertise into other industries”.

Hiufan Tsang, CITP – General Manager, DKSH (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.

Hiufan Tsang, CITP headshot

“I am very honored to be acknowledged with the CITP designation.”

As the general manager of DKSH (Shanghai), Hiufan Tsang has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He got his start in the industry right after his college graduation with a position in international marketing. His career received a significant boost when he joined a French distribution company in Shanghai, and now he is the general manager for DKSH in Shanghai.

Tsang believes that all aspects of humanity are interwoven, and his role in international trade serves as a contribution to the stability the world needs to prosper. His decision to apply for the CITP designation came from the belief that his membership in this elite group will help “support dialogue and enable cultural understanding through trade.” He is eager to contribute to the diversity of the international market and encourage the flow of products and ideas between different countries.

More than anything, Tsang recognizes the importance of people. He says that “people management is at the core of getting international trade done.”

His hard work and dedication in earning the CITP designation has given him the platform to share his experiences with people just beginning their careers in international trade.

“Their evolution into future stalwarts of this industry is critical for a prosperous global trade.”

To help them get there, he is happy to contribute in any way possible, providing guidance through writing, consultations, or training, to anyone who needs support along the way. The network he has been provided with as a result of his designation will last years, as he believes that the preservation of relationships is key.

Want to connect with Hiufan?
LinkedIn: Hiufan Tsang

The right training and professional designation can help individuals to achieve their loftiest goals for personal growth and the success of their company, whether they own it or help support it in another role. Networking opportunities, credibility, the knowledge and means to help others, and the tools to streamline company services are the real, tangible results of this practical professional development.

Learn more about the CITP®|FIBP® designation


Advance your career and build your professional credibility in the field of global business by earning the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation.

Why Earn the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) Designation?

The Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation is the world’s leading professional designation for the field of international business. So whether you’re new to global trade or have over a decade of direct experience, you’ll find the CITP designation can help advance your career and build your professional credibility.

The CITP designation sets you apart in the competitive international business industry because it’s proof you possess the competencies global business experts have identified as being essential for a successful career in international trade. It also recognizes your dedication to ethical business practices and ongoing professional development—both of which are desirable traits for today’s global business practitioners.

*Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) is trademarked for use within Canada. FITT International Business Professional (FIBP) is trademarked for use internationally. Both reflect the same FITT-certified designation. 

**Note: This represents one of the current pathways to the CITP. Based on FITT’s application for ISO 17024 accreditation, this process will change as of January 1, 2023

Click here to take the next steps to your CITP designation

About the author

Author: Paige Henley

Paige is a freelance writer based in the Canadian Prairies. She is a nocturnal animal getting most of her work done before watching the sunrise. When she isn’t writing, she raises orphaned kittens in partnership with her local humane society, curls up with a good book, and works on DIY projects around the house.

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