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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.

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The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is reviewing its portfolio to identify companies linked to human rights violations in China. CPPIB has ownership stakes in Chinese surveillance equipment companies that the U.S. wants blacklisted for violating the rights of minority populations in China. “Companies that violate human rights aren’t positioned to succeed and have no place in any portfolio that exists to deliver risk adjusted returns over multiple generations,” said Michel Leduc, global head of public affairs and communications. CPPIBis still looking for additional Chinese investments to help diversity its portfolio. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: The review comes as financial institutions and companies face increasing pressure to disclose their social and environmental track records. On Tuesday, Norway’s biggest pension fund said it’s divesting from companies that generate at least five per cent of their  revenues from alcohol and gambling. Scholars on ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing—including Harvard Business School professor Robert Eccles—note that while portfolio managers once viewed ESGs as nice-to-haves, they increasingly treat them as crucial to their bottom line, not just their public image.