Export Development Canada’s 2019 mid-year 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.


 

Overall outlook

Canadian trade confidence fell to its lowest level in seven years.

Canadian trade confidence fell to 69.8, its lowest level in seven years

  

Key insights

Significantly less exporters expect international opportunities will improve over 6 months.

 

Significantly less exporters expect international business opportunities will improve over the next six months. 

 

 


Trade protectionism remains a key concern

Trade protectionism is still affecting Canadian exporters’ global strategies and nearly half expect this key concern to increase in the year ahead.

 Exporters sitting at table discuss trade protectionism concerns

  

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

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

45% expect protectionism to increase in the year ahead.

Close to half expect protectionism to increase in the year ahead.

31% of exporters believe the U.S.-China trade dispute is having a negative effect on them

The U.S.-China trade dispute is negatively affecting almost one third of respondents.

  

 

 

  

CUSMA uncertainly lingers

 48% of Canadian exporters are neutral on CUSMA

   

of Canadian exporters are neutral on the newly signed Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) trade deal, but negative assessments outweigh the positive.

 

The conclusion of CUSMA negotiations is affecting 39% of companies’ investment strategies.

25% of exporters plan to accelerate investment, up 8%

More affected exporters plan to accelerate investment.

31% of exporters intend to reduce their investment strategies, which is up 12%.

Intentions to reduce investments among affected exporters have increased from the 2018 year-end survey.

A smiling young exporter stands in a European courtyard

The elevated push to diversify during CUSMA talks has waned, but new trade deals may help.

  

  


Export diversification

Half of exporters plan to diversify to new markets, a decrease of 5 percentage points from 2018 year-end survey.
30% of exporters diversified into new markets in the last two years-a decrease of 8 percentage points from the 2018 survey

  


Investment diversification

11% of exporters plan to invest in new markets which is a decrease of 8 percentage points from the 2018 year-end survey
14% of exporters currently have investments abroad which is a decrease of 1 percentage point from the 2018 year-end survey

    

   

 

    

Top new market destinations for Canadian exporters planning to diversify

 New markets exporters plan to diversify to: Mexico at 12%, U.K. and Germany at 11% each, China at 10% and France 9%

 

 

Key markets for Canadian firms planning to invest in abroad

New markets exporters plan to invest in abroad: U.S. 65% China 12%, U.K. 7%, India 6%, Germany 5%

 

 

 

 

A string of red lanterns hang across buildings in the historic district in Singapore.

Impact of new trade deals on exporter strategies

Although a majority of Canadian exporters indicate new trade deals won’t affect their export strategy, almost one quarter plan to pay more attention to markets associated with those trade deals. 

 

    

23% of exporters plan to pay more attention to potential markets in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

will pay more attention to markets associated with CPTPP.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership

26% of exporters plan to pay more attention to potential markets in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

will pay more attention to markets associated with CETA.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

 

 

  

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About the survey

About EDC’s Trade Confidence Index

This TCI survey was conducted in March/April 2019 and released June 13, 2019. 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.