Export Development Canada’s year-end 2020 Trade Confidence Index (TCI) captures the perspectives of up to 1,000 Canadian exporters and reveals information not readily available in traditional trade statistics. The biannual index showcases the concerns and expectations of Canadian companies for the future, and their evolving international strategies. EDC has conducted this survey since 1999.


Overall outlook: The TCI’s five key findings

1. Canadian trade confidence bounces back

The TCI jumps 11.5 points since our mid-year survey.

Canadian trade confidence up 11.5 points since June survey




2. COVID-19 impact on Canadian businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on sales for 65% of businesses surveyed and a positive impact for 23%.

65% say COVID had negative impact on sales
23% had positive impact on sales
12% had no impact on sales

The majority of those whose sales have been affected by COVID-19 expect the impacts to last well into 2021 or beyond.

Graphic: 43% of respondents say COVID will impact sales longer than 1 year





3. Global recession worries remain high

The majority (67%) think the recession caused by COVID-19 will last more than one year and 53% believe the recovery will feature multiple waves of rebounds followed by downturns.

53% believe recovery will feature multiple waves of rebounds





4. Trade protectionism remains a key concern

Trade protectionism is affecting Canadian exporters’ global strategies.

Male brewer carries large cannister.
Protectionism is affecting 33% of Canadian exporters’ global strategies
49% expect protectionism to increase in year ahead





Female entrepreneur tours Copenhagen.

5. Canadian exporters look to diversify their global footprints

Female entrepreneur tours Copenhagen.


Intent to diversify their export markets

74% of exporters plan to export to new market




Key markets for exporters planning to expand

Top markets exporters plan to expand: U.S. 21%, U.K. 19%, Australia 16%, Germany 15%, France 15%



Key markets for businesses planning to start exporting

Top markets for those planning to start exporting: U.S. 60%, U.K. 24%, Australia 21%, India 20%, United Arab Emirates 20%




About EDC’s Trade Confidence Index

This TCI survey was conducted Oct. 7 to Nov. 6, 2020, and released Dec. 17, 2020. Twice a year, EDC surveys up to 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.


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