Export Development Canada’s 2018 year-end Trade Confidence Index (TCI) survey captures the mood of 1,000 Canadian exporters and reveals insightful information not readily available in traditional trade statistics. The bi-annual index showcases exporters’ concerns and expectations for the future, their evolving international operations and strategies and views on emerging issues.

Current outlook remains solid, although less positive


29% of exporters expect world economic conditions will worsen over the next six months.
64% of exporters expect sales will increase over the next 6 months, an 11% decrease from mid-year.


Protectionism is having an impact on Canadian exporters’ global strategies. The newly signed CUSMA trade deal, however, is providing some relief and should reactivate delayed investments.

Three architects studying building drawings.


Protectionism is affecting 32% of exporters’ global strategies.

Protectionism is affecting almost one-third of Canadian exporters’ global strategies

Steel beam

One-third of exporters are negatively affected by steel-and-aluminum tariffs.

In response to steel and aluminum tariffs, exporters will raise prices, find other market suppliers or source locally.

Exporters who are negatively affected are taking action in response to steel-and-aluminum tariffs



of Canadian exporters are neutral on the newly signed Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) trade deal

Of the 40% of Canadian companies whose investment strategy is affected by CUSMA, 41% plan to increase investment.Of the 40% of companies whose investment strategy is affected by CUSMA, 35% intend to delay investments.


Canadian exporters are continuing to diversify their international operations

People walking on a busy boardwalk with an urban skyline in the background.


Export diversification

55% are planning to export to new markets, which is down 11% from six months ago. 38% have started exporting to new markets in the last two years, down 14% from the last survey.


Investment diversification

19% of exporters are planning to invest to new markets, a 1% decrease from six months ago. 15% of Canadian exporters currently have investments abroad - a 1% decrease from six months ago.


Top new market destinations for Canadian companies planning to export

New markets exporters plan to export to: U.K. at 16%, Germany at 13%, China at 12%, France at 10% and Mexico at 10%


Key markets Canadian firms are planning to invest in abroad

64% of exporters are planning to invest in the U.S., 8% in China, 16% in the U.K., 8% in France and 8% in India.


About EDC’s Trade Confidence Index

This TCI survey was conducted in October/November and released Dec. 18, 2018. Twice a year, EDC surveys 1,000 Canadian exporters. The results are a pulse check of Canadian exporters’ level of confidence and their expectations of international trade opportunities over the next six months.