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Report on Business Trade wars and tariffs drag Canadian exporters’ confidence to seven-year low

A survey by Export Development Canada showed Canadian exporters' confidence hit a seven-year low this spring.

Justin Tang

Canadian exporters’ confidence fell to a seven-year low in a survey released on Thursday amid the disruption caused by trade wars and the imposition of U.S. tariffs.

The Export Development Canada survey was completed in March and April, before the United States removed punitive trade measures against Canadian steel and aluminum exports last month.

“Disruptive international trade policies have clearly shaken the confidence of Canadian exporters,” EDC chief economist Peter Hall said in a statement.

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“One-third of respondents are already negatively impacted by protectionist measures now in place, and an overwhelming majority sees no resolution of major global trade issues within the next year.”

The Bank of Canada has repeatedly identified the U.S.-China trade war as one of the main risks facing the economy.

EDC said the trade confidence index in March and April had dropped to 69.8 per cent – almost four percentage points below the series’ historical average – from 73.7 per cent at the end of 2018.

Just over a third of respondents said protectionism was affecting their export and international investment strategies, while 31 per cent said the U.S.-China trade dispute was hitting their export and investment activities.

More than 90 per cent of respondents expected protectionist measures to worsen or stay the same over the next 12 months. EDC surveys 1,000 exporters twice a year for the trade confidence index.

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