May 2011 18

Canada Should Look For New Trading Partners

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Photo by Nikos Koutoulas Photo by Nikos Koutoulas

On May 16, 2011, Mark Carney, Bank of Canada governor, gave a speech at the Canadian Club of Ottawa. His message was powerful in its simplicity: Canada should definitely maintain its traditional trading partnerships, but it should also try to look for more potential trade partners.

You might wonder why Canada needs to diversify when its biggest trading partners are the United States and Europe. Are they not enough to support our economy? Although the answer is complex, there are some indicators that cause doubt. “The financial crisis has accelerated the shift in the world’s economic centre of gravity. Emerging-market economies now account for almost three-quarters of global growth — up from just one-third at the turn of the millennium,” said Carney.

Emerging markets like China, Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil are on the brink of a new era of the world economy, while Europe and the US are still trying to recover from the financial crisis and deal with debts and inflation. They are not the only ones having trouble, however: another of Canada’s most important trade partners, Japan, has to deal with the economic aftermath of its earthquake and tsunami in terms of nuclear danger and, in the long term, its rapidly diminishing population.

Canada’s successful metal, energy, and other resources trade can be traced back to Asian markets, mainly China. But according to Carney, it won’t be easy to keep up: "Increasing market share in emerging markets will require sustained efforts to develop trade, technical, and academic partnerships.”

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