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New Canadian Trade Plan Focuses on Markets and Sectors with Greatest Potential

Monday, December 09, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Canadian trade minister Ed Fast released recently a new international trade plan that he said will focus Ottawa’s efforts on markets that hold the greatest promise for Canadian business as well as core commercial objectives within those markets. Fast said the Global Markets Action Plan reflects the changing global landscape and will align Canada’s trade, development and foreign policy tools to “support the pursuit of commercial success by Canadian companies and investors.” The plan, which updates the 2007 Global Commerce Strategy, also sets concrete targets to increase the presence of Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets.

Target Markets. Using “vigorous and continual trade promotion, supported by ambitious trade policy,” the plan will target three distinct types of markets. Three-year market access plans for each priority market will be developed, implemented and updated regularly.

Emerging markets with the best potential for broad Canadian commercial interests: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam

Emerging markets with specific opportunities for Canadian businesses: Bahrain, Benin, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burma, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Senegal, Ukraine, Uruguay, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia

Established markets with broad Canadian interests: Australia, the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), the European Union, Japan, New Zealand and the United States

Plan Elements. A new trade promotion plan will entrench the concept of “economic diplomacy” by focusing government resources and services to maximize the success of Canada’s commercial interests in key foreign markets. Efforts will be made to ensure that Canada’s trade policy tools are prioritized toward initiatives that will yield the maximum economic benefits to Canadian workers and businesses. There will also be sustained efforts to leverage Canada’s position as the only G-8 nation to have preferential access to both the EU and the U.S., which comprise over half the global marketplace. Finally, stakeholder linkages will be renewed to ensure that government priorities are in sync with the needs of businesses and that the plan adapts to changes in the global economy.

SMEs. The plan seeks to increase the export presence of Canadian SMEs in emerging markets from 29% to 50% by 2018. This would expand Canada’s SME footprint in these markets from 11,000 to 21,000 companies and create over 40,000 net new jobs.

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