Canadian Manufacturing Not Dead Yet

Plus: University launches centre for global entrepreneurs; Trade deal to lessen border delays—in this week's Export Wire for Canadian small business

Written by John Lorinc

Global trade deal imminent: When negotiators from the 159 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meet in Bali next month, they will sign off on several agreements that could add US$1 trillion annually to global commerce, the Financial Times reported late last week. The possible deal is the first to emerge from the WTO in over a decade, and focuses on agricultural trade and hold ups at the border, which are concerns for Canadian exporters of all sizes. As the FT observed,

“The biggest element of the Bali deal is the chapter on “trade facilitation”, WTO jargon for removing bureaucratic barriers at borders. It will set binding standards for WTO members on matters such as how long goods should take to clear borders, how customs officials can charge tariffs and penalties and what paperwork can be required at borders.”

York University launches global entrepreneurship centre: York University’s Schulich School of Business last week officially launched the Centre for Global Enterprise (CGE), a new group that will help Canadian SMEs overcome the obstacles to international expansion, reports The Financial Post.

“The new initiative is being launched in response to dire warnings from Canadian and international economic observers who believe Canada’s lack of momentum on the trade front is likely to reduce it’s ability to be a key global player over time.”

(PROFIT will run an in-depth interview with CGE director Lorna Wright in this space on Tuesday.)

Canadian manufacturing: not dead yet: The conventional wisdom is that Canada’s manufacturing export sector has gone the way of the dodo, leaving the country dangerously reliant on resource exports alone. A closer reading of the trade data suggests otherwise, Maclean’s Andrew Leach wrote last week.

“[A]lthough we hear a lot about how manufacturing exports have declined (some people even blame the Dutch for that), they have grown significantly since the depths of the Great Recession. While energy exports have grown rapidly (12% per year on average) since June 2009, exports of manufactured products have increased at a rate of 7% per year over the same time period. The story, if there is one, is not so much what we don’t sell to others but what we don’t buy from ourselves.”

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