Briefing

Only 17 per cent of businesses plan to use Canada’s European trade deal

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Only seven per cent businesses understand the details of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), according to a survey of 507 small- and medium-sized businesses by the federal government. The same percentage of respondents were familiar with the provisions of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and 30 per cent planned to start exporting to at least one of the Asian, Oceanic and South American countries involved. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Ottawa has made diversifying Canada’s trade markets a key priority, but the survey results suggest that most businesses are unaware of those efforts, or aren’t planning to take advantage of them. The government has appointed two ministers to the file and has budgeted $1.1 billion for infrastructure and programs to increase the country’s exports by 50 per cent by 2025. Ottawa has identified Asia and Europe as key regions for growth, and digital products, e-commerce and health technology among the sectors with the most export potential. Both the CETA and the CPTPP drop tariffs on hardware, while the former allows Canadian companies to submit results from domestic product testing when they enter new markets, speeding up the regulatory approval process. The government has also expanded its Trade Commissioner Services’ Canadian Technology Accelerator program, which links startups with potential investors and customers in foreign markets to CPTPP countries like Japan and Singapore.