More than 80 per cent of Canadian businesses see global trade as critical to driving private sector competitiveness, but only 25 per cent of businesses approve of the new Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), with another 44 per cent showing only lukewarm support.
According to a new survey commissioned by shipping giant UPS Canada, 84 per cent of Canadian businesses believe that trade diversification beyond North America is necessary – and if they disagree over CETA, there’s also a significant divide between how small, medium, and large businesses in Canada leverage trade agreements.
The survey, conducted by survey firm Leger, found that two thirds of businesses currently export globally and of these companies, only one third export to the E.U.
“The ambivalence we’re seeing among Canadian business may be a result of the fact that the [CETA] deal is still very new,” said Cristina Falcone, vice-president, public affairs, UPS Canada. “Still we’re optimistic that as businesses learn more about CETA and how it opens up new opportunities for competitiveness, we’ll see a stronger endorsement and strategic engagement with prospective new European customers.”
The UPS Canada CETA survey also found that, of those businesses that target Europe for export, 37 per cent expect CETA to compel them to increase export volumes to E.U. markets, while only 17 per cent of respondents anticipate the deal to motivate them to examine E.U. opportunities.
Additionally, the survey revealed that businesses that have a supply chain strategy in place (62.7%) are much more likely to believe their organizations could leverage CETA to their advantage than those that don’t (43.7%); that, overall, businesses were more likely to exceed their growth benchmarks with a supply chain strategy in place (24.6%), rather than without (16.3%); and that nearly 6 in 10 organizations have a supply chain/shipping strategy.