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Trade, Productivity & Competitiveness

BC’s ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world economy will depend on how well we can find new ways of doing business, adopt new ideas and practices, and connect with new trading partners. The Council encourages public policies that support research and innovation, business practices that increase productivity, connections that open new trading opportunities, and processes to commercialize BC’s best research.

Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Digesting hard truths about Canada’s subpar trade performance (Business in Vancouver)

Canada is a mid-sized economy, responsible for less than 2% of global output. Closer to home, we represent about 8% of all economic activity across the United States, Canada and Mexico combined.

Canada is also an open economy that depends heavily on cross-border flows of trade, investment and knowledge to underpin our high standard of living. To pay our way in the world and generate the income necessary to buy imports, Canada must sell commodities, manufactured goods and services to customers in other markets.

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Punching Above their Weight:
Aboriginal-Owned Businesses

Looking to increase innovation and productivity? Take a leaf from Aboriginal-owned firms, suggests a new study by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB).

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Finlayson: Retooling NAFTA: Canada faces harsh economic truths (Troy Media & Canadian Investor Magazine)

Canada enters NAFTA renegotiations with a rather weak hand.

Canada is a mid-sized economy, responsible for less than 2% of global production of goods and services – a proportion that has fallen gently over the last decade or so.  Closer to home, we represent about 8% of all economic activity across the United States, Canada and Mexico combined. 

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Three Hard Truths About Canada’s Trade

Canada is an “open” economy, meaning that we depend heavily on cross-border flows of trade, investment and knowledge to underpin our high standard of living. To pay our way in the world, Canada must sell commodities, manufactured goods and services to other markets. Identifying the industry sectors where we can strengthen and expand the country’s export capacity requires that we begin by examining what Canada sells to other countries today.

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Developing a Stronger Corporate Head Office Cluster:
An Important Challenge for BC

There are many reasons why policy-makers and community leaders should be keen to develop a robust head office cluster.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Economic policy advice for B.C.’s new ‘GreeNDP’ government (Business in Vancouver)

As a new B.C. provincial government gets ready to assume office, there is an opportunity for a fresh agenda and new perspectives. The BC NDP government will inherit an economy that has been outpacing the rest of the country in the growth of overall output, employment and consumer spending. However, B.C. also faces several structural challenges that in some ways belie the happy picture of robust economic growth. These challenges include excessive reliance on a frothy housing market and outsized real estate sector; alarming levels of household debt; tepid productivity growth; sluggish business investment; waning competitiveness in some key segments of the province’s export economy; and a housing affordability crisis that is affecting many parts of the Lower Mainland.

In these circumstances, the new government will need to proceed carefully in defining and implementing its policy agenda.

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BC Economic Momentum Carries On

The BC economy remains healthy, with nearly all sectors contributing to the ongoing expansion. The momentum from last year is carrying forward more so than previously anticipated, prompting us to adjust our 2017 forecast upwards.

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A Closer Look at BC's Exports

As a small market jurisdiction, exports of both goods and services are the foundation of the BC economy. Selling goods and services to other markets provides income from external sources, which in turn enables BC households and businesses to purchase and pay for a vast array of imports. Growing BC export-capable industries is critical to raising real incomes and boosting prosperity in the long term.

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GUEST SPEAKER: Jeffrey Simpson's Keynote at the Fifth Annual Chair's Dinner

On June 7, 2017, Canadian thought leader and former Globe and Mail national affairs columnist, Jeffrey Simpson, provided the keynote address at our Fifth Annual Chair's Dinner.  In his remarks, Mr. Simpson shared his views of Canada at 150 and provided his unique insight into British Columbia's position in the Canadian federation, our nation's partnerships with the United States, and new challenges and opportunities in a complex world He has generously agreed to share his speech below.

Check Against Delivery

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Open letter to western premiers to attend the 2017 Western Governors’ Association meeting

Dear Premier Christy Clark, Premier Rachel Notley, Premier Brian Pallister and Premier Brad Wall:

The rules governing trade with, and access to, Canada’s first and third largest trading partners have come under attack – threatening two decades of growth and prosperity in western Canada.

For the citizens and businesses of western Canada, it is crucial that their governments, individually and collectively, take the lead to assure that unique western interests are represented in determining the future rules for trade in North America.

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Dear Mr. President...

With the Renegotiation of NAFTA Looming, the Business Council Pens a Letter to President Trump

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Metro Vancouver needs a cohesive economic development plan (Business in Vancouver)

In today’s global economy, the competition for talent, investment and high-value business activity increasingly is playing out at the metropolitan level. According to the Brookings Institution’s Global Metro Monitor, the 300 biggest cities account for almost half of world production and consumption, despite being home to only one-fifth of the population. Canada has six metro areas big enough to rank in Brookings’ top-300 list: Toronto, Montreal, Greater Vancouver, Ottawa-Gatineau, Calgary and Edmonton.

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BC Election Series: Party Platforms Devote Little Attention to Making BC More Competitive

As a small, open and trade dependent economy, being competitive is vital to BC’s success and prosperity. Against that backdrop, we find it concerning that the party platforms give little attention to the shifting competitive landscape facing business in BC.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: The election and B.C.'s export economy (Vancouver Sun)

So far, the provincial election campaign has focused on issues such as housing, jobs, health care, education, social services and transportation.  These all matter to voters, of course, but several other topics that have received little attention to date are also important in shaping B.C.’s long-term economic prosperity. One is export competitiveness. 

In a small jurisdiction like B.C., the ability to raise real incomes over time depends in large part on whether we can increase exports and stimulate the growth of export-capable industries. Successful export industries produce many benefits, including furnishing the income that allows us to pay for imports. Most export industries also offer above-average wages and salaries. 

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Summary of 2017 BC Political Party Platforms

A summary and comparison of the 2017 platform proposals of the BC Liberal Party, the BC New Democratic Party and the BC Green Party in advance of the upcoming election.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Income tax rates: Canada’s growing competitive disadvantage (Business in Vancouver)

Among all advanced economies, Canada imposes one of the heaviest income tax burdens on highly skilled people

The federal budget presented last month offered a timely reminder of something that many Canadians might not realize: a huge slice of Ottawa’s revenue comes from a single source, the personal income tax (PIT). Federal PIT revenue is projected to reach $152 billion in 2017-18, which is half of all of the money hoovered up by the national government. PIT is also the No. 1 revenue source for the provinces, although it makes up a significantly smaller portion of their tax base than of Ottawa’s.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Canada's over-hyped clean-tech revolution (Troy Media)

Across Canada, politicians have become bedazzled by the potential of the “clean tech” sector to drive economic growth.  The 2017 federal budget earmarks more than $2.2 billion in new spending to boost the industry, with a particular focus on accelerating the commercialization of products and technologies that promise to lessen the environmental impact of energy and water use, transportation, and other industrial activities. 

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Slideshare: Turbulent Times: Our economic prospects in an uncertain world

In his April 6, 2017 presentation to the Annual Council of Forest Industries Conference, BCBC Chief Policy Officer Jock Finlayson described the state of the global, American and Canadian economies and their potential impact on BC's forest sector.

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Slideshare: BC Economy Still Healthy...But Growth Will Downshift in 2017

This slideshare presentation walks through the lastest BCBC BC Economic Review and Outlook Report.

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The Investment Conundrum

Business non-residential capital spending has been on a declining trend for three years. The slump is particularly evident in the energy sector, but the weakness has spread well beyond the oil and gas industry.

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