Canada's Support for Exporting SMEs Not Aggressive Enough

Plus: HSBC pushes for tax credits for exporters in the UK; easy travels to the Pacific Rim—in this week's Export Wire for Canadian small business

Written by John Lorinc

HSBC pushing for tax credits: This month, the federal government pledged through the Throne Speech to support Canadian SMEs and push trade deals. Other OECD countries, however, are moving even more aggressively to boost the export activities of their own small- and mid-sized firms, raising questions about whether Ottawa is doing enough. In the U.K., where David Cameron’s minority government wants British exports to top £1 trillion by the end of the decade, HSBC has recommended export tax credits as part of its Manifesto for British Exports, reports the International Business Times.

“HSBC cited the example of Michigan in the U.S., whose State Trade and Export Promotion programme rebates exporters up to $25,000 of their costs relating to trading activities, such as trade missions and market research. The bank said this had helped 130 firms enter 62 markets and lifted exports by $21m in the second half of 2012, with a $1.5m outlay by the local government.”

Feds should provide more support to exporters: According to a research report released last week by the Certified General Accountants of Canada, Canadian SMEs have performed relatively well in export markets. But, the study warned, the federal government will need to take a more broad-ranging approach to trade promotion if it wants to maximize the opportunities presented by international markets and global value chains.

“Canadian SMEs’ trade performance will also require helping businesses acquire business intelligence, and improving their domestic competitiveness. The former will require a concerted approach between government, businesses and third-party organizations supporting SMEs to improve business knowledge of new markets, connect companies with specific market opportunities, and help them assess the risks and potential value. The latter will require overcoming Canada’s longstanding productivity challenge, and improving access to financing, regulatory efficiency, logistics infrastructure and access to skilled labour.”

Easy travels to the Pacific Rim: At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Indonesia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a program intended to make it easier for business people to travel between Canada and Pacific Rim countries. According to a government press release,

“The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) is designed to promote fast and efficient travel for business people within the Asia-Pacific region. Canada is expected to launch its ABTC pilot this winter. This will allow Canadian business travellers who are NEXUS members to apply for an ABTC to access designated APEC lines when travelling to participating foreign APEC economies. Canadian business travellers will also benefit from faster border clearance upon return to Canada by using a Trusted Traveller kiosk.”

The measure is part of a broader effort by the Conservative government to push increased trade with the APEC nations and the Americas.

Read: More Insights From Bali – EDC’s Peter G. Hall on Eastern Opportunities

Join your fellow exporters and discuss the challenges of working in global markets in the PROFIT Export Exchange on LinkedIn

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