Canadian Manufacturing

Canada needs to shake up trade priorities to respond to Trump, says Conference Board of Canada

A report published by the think-tank's Global Commerce Centre says Canada should make itself more attractive to foreign investment, seek to leverage NAFTA modernization and pursue trade deals outside of the U.S.


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OTTAWA—According to a new report from The Conference Board of Canada’s Global Commerce Centre, Canada needs to refocus its international trade and economic priorities to account for Trump and U.S. protectionism.

“Canadian trade with the U.S. has flat-lined over the past decade, and a protectionist Trump agenda gives us a good reason to reconsider what is next for Canada in terms of international trade, investment and immigration,” said Glen Hodgson, senior fellow, The Conference Board of Canada.

The report, published by the think-tank’s international business division—Succeeding in the Age of Trump: Refocusing Canada’s International Trade and Economic Priorities—examines how Canada might refocus its trade priorities and suggests that we should position ourselves as a hub for global trade and investment.

According the report, Canada has the potential to be a preferred investment destination and trade enabler for global firms, offering tariff-free market access to both the U.S. and the E.U. Duty free access to these markets is particular attractive to Asian businesses.

However, the Global Commerce Centre says Canada would need to do more to increase its attractiveness to foreign investors, such as streamlining the investment review process and aligning investment attraction efforts to different levels of government.

The report also points to modernizing NAFTA as an opportunity, seeking provisions like reduction of non-tariff barriers, free trade in services, more common regulatory standards and a preferred energy supplier designation for the North American energy market.

Pursuing free trade deals with other regions is also encouraged by the Global Commerce Centre. India, Japan, the U.K., China and a TPP without the U.S. are cited as possible examples.


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