“We need more reliable trade infrastructure to deliver products to market. Our research seeks practical solutions.” – Carlo Dade
The West has just 31 per cent of Canada’s population but accounts for 42 per cent of the country’s exports. It is vital for Canada’s export-dependent economy to have access to markets – and to be able to move products to them in a way that is efficient, safe and affordable.
A new protectionist administration in the U.S. and the rise of China have created upheaval in global trade. Our research is focused on developing new ways to ensure that we have the infrastructure to move products, the ability to engage with U.S. states to defend western interests in our most important market, and new opportunities to prosper from Pacific trade.
The following are specific projects we are undertaking:
The private sector and strategic trade infrastructure
Canada, and especially the West, are fortunate to produce much of what the booming global middle class wants. But we lose out when we don’t get our goods to markets fast enough – if at all. Building on our roundtable report Strategic Trade Infrastructure, we are finding solutions to:
• Catching up to competitors who are doing better at building crucial trade infrastructure.
• Bring the private sector and its sophisticated logistics supply and production chain information to help governments get trade infrastructure spending right.
• Local opposition that makes building new infrastructure difficult, if not impossible.
Sub-national engagement to defend North American trade
Even before President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda, there was a counter-productive view that defending trade interests happens between Ottawa and Washington. Now, more than ever, we need to stress that trade happens province-to-state, business- to-business, and that’s where we must engage. We focus on how, where and with whom.
Fighting for Asian markets
With the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Canada lost its best path to catch up with competitors in Asia. Canada must now find ways to gain better access to large and rapidly growing Asian markets. We will provide recommendations for decision-makers to pursue a new course for trade around the Pacific, including preparing for negotiations with China.
Using a case study approach, we will use the agri-food research we have been doing to develop recommendations for how to enhance our food processing capabilities, for greater trade within Canada and to take advantage of growing export markets, including in Asia.
The Korea papers
Trade agencies are looking for new tools to help small and medium firms export to Asia. We’ve developed innovative, export- focused material on Korea, useful for all other markets, too.
How to be competitive in an era of “America First”
Carbon pricing in Canada, rising trade protectionism and aggressive tax cuts in the U.S. will help those wooing investments from Canada. We will look at the competitive realities and recommend how to push back against poaching, both to help Canadian firms stay home – and encourage outside investment here.
Lumber versus dairy?
Canada’s supply management system protects dairy, eggs and poultry producers, only 6% of all Canadian farmers and largely centered in Ontario and Quebec. It hurts all consumers with high prices and hurts the majority of Canadian farmers, particularly western ones, who want to sell more of their grains, oilseeds, beef and pork to the world. The end of our softwood lumber deal with the U.S. will require looking at how we will reconcile pushing for access for our lumber while still insisting on protecting dairy. We will look at the concerns and options, and provide recommendations on how to proceed.