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International Markets

Providing value to customers, whether it's delivering goods, services or business solutions while meeting global competition, is the challenge that Canadian manufacturers and exporters face every day. Meeting this challenge increasingly depends on their ability to access customers, build business partnerships and acquire the best in skills, knowledge, technologies, goods and services around the world.

While it's up to individual businesses to do what's required to compete and win, governments have a critical role to play by ensuring a competitive environment that gives Canadian businesses every change to succeed.

As Canada's largest trade and industry association, CME advocates for stronger leadership in support of Canadian businesses active in global markets.

This means defining Canadian business interests in trade negotiations so that Canada's trade policy is aligned with manufacturers and exporters' business priorities. It also means ensuring that international rules are effectively enforced to ensure Canadian industry faces a level playing field at home and abroad.

Our leadership also makes a difference to CME members as it relates to moving goods and people across borders. We fight to enhance Canada's logistics infrastructure and for policies that improve the movement of goods, of business travelers, and of skilled labour.

CME also advocates for stronger government support for Canadian businesses in global markets, better access to trade financing and seeks to connect members with procurement opportunities in global supply chains.

Our policy agenda for International Markets focuses on seven priority area:


Free Trade Negotiations

Priority

Improve access to foreign markets and facilitate international trade for Canadian exporters.

Significance

With Canadian manufacturers and exporters seeking to grow with new customers, business partners and investment opportunities in global markets, it is critical to ensure that Canada's international trade policy is aligned with Canadian business priorities, enhances Canadian manufacturers and exporters' competitive advantage in foreign markets and helps increase sales and improve export performance.

With multilateral trade talks currently stalled, most countries are aggressively pursuing regional and bilateral trade deals. In Canada, the government is currently holding free trade negotiations with close to 50 countries, including the European Union, India and South Korea, is conducting a joint study to assess the potential for a trade agreement with Japan and is looking at negotiating investment protection and tax agreements with other countries. These negotiations are broad and cover a number of areas such as tariff and non-tariff barriers to goods and services, investment policy, government procurement at the federal and provincial levels, regulatory cooperation, standards, intellectual property, movement of labour and business visitors, competition policy, environmental and labour policies, to name a few.

Given the pace at which negotiations are moving and the ramifications they are bound to have on Canadian industry, CME is taking the lead in defining Canadian business interests in both these trade negotiations and Canada's overall bilateral and multilateral trade policy objectives. CME's approach seeks to improve market access by eliminating foreign tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and investment, increase Canadian manufacturing production and improve export sales.

CME Objectives

  • Negotiate multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade agreements that eliminate both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in international markets, negotiate meaningful market access, investment protection and tax agreements with other countries, particularly with Europe, India and Latin America, and continue to counter protectionism.
  • Develop and pursue a clear and coherent strategy to improve business relations with China.

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Effective Enforcement of Trade Rules

Priority

Ensure the effective enforcement of international trade rules to ensure a level playing field for Canadian manufacturers and exporters.

Significance

International trade agreements work to the extent that they are respected and effectively enforced. As trade agreements multiply, as we see more businesses moving goods, capital and people across borders and as businesses face new competition in domestic and global markets, it becomes increasingly critical to effectively enforce trade rules to deal with unfair trade practices that distort the playing field and place Canadian manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage.

Moreover, with innovation being a key business driver in manufacturing, it is essential for manufacturers to ensure they can enforce their intellectual property rights. CME plays a leadership role in strengthening Canada's trade remedies system, advocating for better protection of intellectual property rights and fighting for policies that will effectively deal with counterfeiting and unfair trade.

CME Objectives

  • Strengthen countervail, anti-dumping and anti-counterfeit enforcement and ensure effective enforcement of trade remedies.
  • Enforce IP protections and prohibitions on the import and export of counterfeit goods.
  • Strengthen role of Canadian International Trade Tribunal and CRA's investigative capabilities.
  • DFAIT/CRA response unit for problems raised by CME members.

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Movement of Business Professionals

Priority

Facilitate the movement of international business travelers and skilled personnel.

Significance

International business starts with people building trust and relationships. The movement of business visitors to and from Canada plays a vital role in supporting commercial activity and forging the relations on which future business expansion depends. In fact, the success of Canadian businesses increasingly relies on their ability to take advantage of business opportunities in global markets, particularly in emerging economies.

Moreover, as services trade gains in importance, it's increasingly important for manufacturers and exporters to move people across borders to provide engineering, construction, logistics, after-sales and training services to suppliers, customers and business partners.

Unfortunately, there is a growing tension between governments' trade diversification objectives and current business visitor practices. CME members have been reporting increasing problems in the treatment of business visitors at border crossings. These issues include processing times, lack of predictability, intrusive information demands, skewed refusal rates and a lack of access to decision-makers.

CME works to facilitate the movement of business travelers and skilled personnel to and from Canada – we do this by advocating for the facilitation of business travel to Canada, improvements to Canada's immigration system, and improving access to temporary foreign workers.

CME Objectives

  • Improve visa entry procedures for business travelers to Canada.

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Accessing Global Supply Chains

Priority

Connect Canadian businesses to global supply chains and procurement opportunities.

Significance

While business strategies have moved beyond exporting to, importing from, or investing in other countries, public policy hasn't kept pace.
Public policies must now focus on global enterprise – businesses, supply chains, or networks trading world-wide – and on what is necessary to capture the highest economic benefits for Canadians.

Canada's governments, business and financial services, and educational and research institutions must be able to support the activities of manufacturers and other businesses operating on a global scale. There is also a need for much greater integration and coordination of Canadian trade policy, international development assistance, trade financing and export and investment promotion services to meet these new business needs.

Moreover, as the number of Canadian companies leading or playing a key role in global supply chains increases, Canada's trade performance depends on the ability of small and medium-sized manufacturers to connect global supply chains.

CME advocates for policies and support services that provide better access to global supply chains and procurement opportunities and seeks to connect Canadian industry with supply chain leaders in Canada and around the world.

CME Objectives

  • Expand reciprocal access to procurement for Canadian businesses.
  • Encourage connections between Canadian businesses and larger multinational supply chains.
  • Connect Canadian manufacturers to opportunities in oil sands and energy developments across North America. Connect Canadian technologies to solve public policy problems.
  • GHG emission reduction, environmental improvement, health care and urban development.

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Trade Promotion

Priority

Stronger support for Canadian businesses in global markets.

Significance

Governments around the world play a critical role in supporting domestic business activity in global markets.  

In Canada, the Trade Commissioner Service has trade commissioners posted in more than 150 cities around the world. Their role is to support Canadian businesses internationally by providing market intelligence, finding contacts and resolving problems on the ground. Other organizations such as EDC and CCC provide services essential to Canadian businesses’ success internationally. CME works to ensure these organizations provide world-class support to Canadian exporters, and to connect CME members with their services.  

Moreover, as the government continues to control the trade of certain goods through export and import controls, CME advocates for policies that meet business requirements and do not put Canadian businesses at a competitive disadvantage. 

CME Objectives

  • Align Canada's Trade Commissioner Service with the needs of manufacturers and exporters.
  • Connect the services of Canada's trade commissioners, EDC, CCC, and CIDA more effectively to the needs of Canadian businesses in foreign markets.
  • Ensure Canada's import and export controls do not put Canadian industry at a competitive disadvantage.
  • Improve the ability of businesses to take advantage of international opportunities and the availability of market and business intelligence.

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Trade Financing

Priority

Improve access to trade financing for competitive, credit-worthy exporters.

Significance

The global financial crisis had a direct impact on Canadian manufacturers and exporters, with viable, highly-competitive businesses facing difficulties accessing credit and financing and reporting higher financing costs. As the economy recovers from the recession, a growing number of businesses need access to financing to increase inventory, add capacity and grow their business. Ensuring that competitive businesses have secure access to trade financing is essential to ensuring a strong recovery and Canadian manufacturers’ success in domestic and global markets. 

CME plays a leading role in ensuring that the federal government and its financing agencies such as the Business Development Bank (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) respond to rapidly shifting financing conditions and develop innovative solutions to the financing problems experienced by Canadian businesses operating internationally.

CME Objectives

  • Improve credit support programs introduced by EDC and BDC.
  • Strengthen government-backed guarantees for bank lending to companies that require additional working capital to improve productivity and take advantage of new business opportunities
  • Encourage banks to expand their international connections
  • Ensure the Federal government plays a leading role in developing innovative and effective solutions to the credit problems experienced by competitive businesses.

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Movement of Goods

Priority

Enhance logistics capacity for Canadian manufacturers and exporters.

Significance

The sharp increase in international trade has propelled logistics activities to the forefront of business strategy. Manufacturers now rely on logistics networks to deliver seamless, integrated, secure, reliable and efficient solutions to leverage their resources.  

On the one hand, this requires manufacturers to continuously enhance their logistics systems to ensure rapid and reliable delivery of products and services to customers.  

On the other hand, it requires governments to also continuously improve Canada’s logistics infrastructure to reduce shipping costs, lower total landed costs and improve shipping times.  

CME advocates the improvements to Canada’s border, transportation and telecommunications infrastructure that support Canadian manufacturers and exporters’ business strategy.  

CME Objectives

  • Continue to upgrade border transportation, security and customs infrastructure
  • Adoption of security technologies to expedite logistics
  • Support the development of the Atlantic Canadian, Continental (Ontario/Quebec), and Pacific Gateways.
  • Reduce red tape and make interprovincial and cross-border shipping more efficient.
  • Implement practical solutions to solve shippers' logistics problems and take advantage of new business opportunities.
  • Ensure the continuity of operations of Canada's logistics infrastructure.

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