Canadian companies to look beyond U.S.
companies about overseas markets and directing businesses to government services designed to help them take advantage of numerous trade deals Canada has struck in recent years.“(Carr)’s the one who’s going to open the door and I’m here to help our companies, our SMEs, walk through that door,” she said. The treaties include recent agreements with the Pacific Rim -- known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP -- and Canada’s free-trade deal with the European Union, also known as CETA. The Asia-Pacific and EU deals will open up access to a billion potential customers, but getting small businesses to explore those markets won’t be easy. Only about 11 or 12 per cent of smaller Canadian firms are currently exporting their goods or services abroad, she said.\ “We have a low number of SMEs that are exporting right now,” said Ng, who worked in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office before winning a 2017 byelection. “We need to do better.” She said she knows from her own experi- ence that small business owners are often too busy running their day-to-day operations to figure out how to get access to a new, faraway market. Ng grew up in a small, family business and, later on in her career, said she worked with startups and small companies. Liberal and Conservative governments have made considerable efforts in recent years to get more of Canada’s small- and mediumsized companies to pursue new opportunities outside North America. Conservative MP Blake Richards, the parliamentary critic for small business, export promotion and tourism, said it’s “laudable” the government’s made export promotion clear cabinet responsibility. But he argued the federal Liberals have, at the same time, made it more difficult for small businesses to explore foreign markets because of competitiveness challenges at home -- from regulations to the tax burden. Richards pointed to the federal carbon tax as an example. “It’s great to say we want to help give this opportunity to promote ourselves, but the other actions you’re seeing don’t match up with that,” Richards said.