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February 21, 2020

Canadian exporters highly concerned by trade barrier

According to Export Development Canada’s latest Trade Confidence Index, confidence among Canadian exporters fell to its lowest level in almost a decade.

The biannual survey from Canada’s export credit agency found the level of confidence among Canadian businesses that are either exporting or want to export continued an 18-month decline to hit its lowest point since 2012.

“The results, an eight-year low in confidence, suggest a soft start is likely for Canada’s exports in 2020. Protectionism and concern about the global economy are key issues weighing on the minds of Canadian exporters,” said Stephen Tapp, EDC’s Deputy Chief Economist.

Of the five index components, three were down in the 2019 year-end poll, bringing the confidence level to 69.3-that’s 6% below the historical average and more than 9% below mid-2018. The slide was tempered somewhat by modest rebounds in the outlooks for domestic economic conditions and international business opportunities.

Almost one-third of the small, medium and large Canadian businesses polled said protectionism is affecting their global strategies, and 90% said they expect protectionism to either stay the same or increase in 2020-a sign this period of elevated protectionism may become the new normal.

Exporters surveyed said they are feeling better about the new trade deal between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico (CUSMA), with only 16% of respondents expressing a negative assessment of the deal, compared to 34% in the previous survey.

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