If past data is any indication, Canadian businesses’ likely won’t leverage CETA to its fullest potential

Candace Sider, vice president, regulatory affairs, Livingston International.
Article from the Financial Post.

The recent signing of the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU is being called historic by economic observers. A multilateral deal involving so many countries and so many mass-market opportunities for global traders is a tremendous milestone. It also serves to counter the growing trade protectionist sentiment that led to Brexit and buoyed populist activism in the U.S.

But for all the diplomacy involved in negotiating CETA; all the trips to and from Brussels and Ottawa; all the evaluation and refinement of the agreement’s 16,000 pages, there’s a strong possibility many Canadian businesses won’t leverage the agreement to its fullest potential.

Canadian small businesses tend to take a more conservative approach to globalization than their counterparts in other industrialized nations. They are a wary lot that prefer to look before they leap, and for many the prospect of penetrating new markets is a justifiably superfluous enterprise. Yet even among small businesses that have waded into international trade waters, free trade agreements, or FTAs, remain a peripheral consideration, rather than the raison d’être behind going global.