The Senates passage of the CPTPP is good news for Canadian businesses as they look to make that first step into the rapidly-expanding and opportunity-rich markets on either side of the Pacific.
The CPTPP will bring down the previously prohibitive trade barriers for Canadian businesses across a number of sectors, offering the potential to significantly reduce market entry costs and facilitate access to nearly 500 million new consumers.
The uncertainty created by the renegotiation of NAFTA highlighted the importance of trade diversification. We must never again allow ourselves to be so vulnerable, and a speedy ratification of the CPTPP can play an important part to this effect.
In order for Canada to fully realize the growth potential of the CPTPP, the Government also needs to look at helping smaller Canadian businesses connect to new opportunities in ways that are meaningful, and accessible, to them. Greater access to, and effective communication with, Government programs and personnel will go a long way towards getting more SMEs into the trade game.
Canadian SMEs are the job engine of Canada. If we want our free trade agreements to create more, better-paying jobs here at home, we must focus on increasing the number of smaller Canadian business in exporting from the current 4% to match the 20%+ levels of other G7 countries.