Find out what 1,000 Canadian exporters experienced in the last half of 2018, plus what their plans are for the future. Where do your expectations fit in the spectrum? Here are some results that might help shape your business plans for the year ahead.

What is the TCI?

  • Survey of 1,000 Canadian exporters, conducted twice a year
  • Provides insights into their future expectations and how they’re adapting their international operations in response to key issues
  • Enables exporters to compare their opinions against their peers to help facilitate future decision-making
  • Includes a representative cross-section of businesses based on sectors, regions, and size
  • Fall 2018 survey was conducted after the Canada-United States-Mexico Trade Agreement (CUSMA) was signed.

Survey results

Outlook remains solid, but weaker

There’s less optimism in the second half of 2018. Although the outlook downgrade is modest, it’s broad-based and reflects softer expectations for global economic conditions.

Protectionism is influencing global strategies

Close to one-third of Canadian exporters report that protectionism is affecting their global strategies. Trade barriers have become a top concern, particularly steel and aluminum tariffs.

Market diversification is on the rise

Although slightly less urgent than during CUSMA trade agreement negotiations, the push to export to new markets and invest outside of Canada continues to rise like never before.

New export market destinations

55% of Canadian exporters* are planning to sell to new markets in the next two years.

  • United Kingdom: 16%
  • Germany: 13%
  • China: 12%
  • France: 10%
  • Mexico: 10%

Reflects percentage of Canadian companies planning to export.

How exporters are responding to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs

34% of Canadian exporters said they were negatively affected by the tariffs.

The top reactions taken by those experiencing negative impacts were:

  • Raise prices: 19%
  • Find alternate markets and suppliers: 18%
  • Source locally: 6%

Exporter experiences and intentions

  • 42% experienced an increase in their U.S. orders in the last six months.
  • 48% intend to hire or increase hiring in the next six months.
  • 35% experienced difficulties accessing skilled labour.
  • 31% intend to ramp up their overall investments.
  • 44% of those with direct investments abroad intend to increase them in the next six months.
  • 72% with foreign affiliate sales expect them to increase in the next six months.

Differences between exporters

  • Size: Small companies more confident than medium and large counterparts.
  • Region: Companies in Quebec and Atlantic provinces more confident.
  • Sectors: Less confidence in all sectors, with the exception of transportation.

Exporter challenges

  • Foreign tariffs or trade barriers
  • Obtaining financing
  • Finding skilled talent
  • Shipping logistics

Investment market destinations

Some 19%* of Canadian exporters are planning to invest outside of Canada in the next two years.

  • United States: 64%
  • China: 8%
  • United Kingdom: 8%
  • France: 8%
  • India: 8%

Reflects percentage of Canadian companies planning to invest abroad.

Key economic resources