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.
Speaking Notes on the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
Speaking notes for Jock Finlayson's appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade on the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
Finlayson: Thank exports for any improvement in Canada's economic performance in 2014 (Troy Media)
After a generally lacklustre 2013, what are the prospects for Canada's economy in the coming year? As 2014 gets under way, the signs are mixed.
In the plus column are accelerating U.S. economic growth, continued low interest rates, and the positive impact of the weaker Loonie on Canada's trade position and competitiveness. Among the factors likely to hold our economy back in the year ahead are sluggish global commodity markets, record high Canadian household debt, government fiscal austerity at both the federal and provincial levels, and a slowdown in residential spending.
BC Productivity Numbers Disappoint
Statistics Canada has just released productivity estimates for 2012, and for BC the news isn’t very heartening. Labour productivity in the province’s business sector fell by 1.4% last year, after posting a solid 2.8% gain in 2011.
What Does BC’s Triple A Credit Rating Have To Do With Dim Sum?
In a world that is riddled with debt-laden governments, BC’s comparatively low debt-to-GDP ratio and coveted triple A credit rating are increasingly being viewed as strategic advantages that can help to promote the province from a fiscal and investment perspective.
The Location of Corporate Headquarters in a Shifting Global Business Landscape
Emerging economies now account for roughly half of world economic output (measured using purchasing-power-parity exchange rates), and their share is projected to continue growing over the next several years and beyond. As they loom larger in global markets, emerging economies are also becoming more important as centers for all kinds of businesses, including the major multinational enterprises (MNEs) that traditionally have been concentrated in a handful of mature Western economies.
The Economic Benefits of Encouraging Small Businesses to Grow
The role of small businesses necessarily features prominently in any discussion of the British Columbia economy. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that an orientation toward small businesses is a defining characteristic of the province’s private sector.
Finlayson: Vancouver not an island, economically speaking (Vancouver Sun)
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson shared his thoughts on the future of the city's economy in an address to the Vancouver Board of Trade on Oct. 16. The mayor got it partly right. He provided an update on recent economic and business developments in the city, particularly in the high-technology sector, and he emphasized the goal of making Vancouver a recognized leader in innovation.
Release: BC Business Leaders Welcome Canada-EU Agreement
The Business Council of British Columbia today offered strong support for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that Canada has concluded with the European Union.
“After four years of negotiations, we are pleased that Canada has reached this milestone agreement-in-principle with our European partners,” stated Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia. “CETA is good news for BC consumers and our economy, and adds momentum for Canada in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty talks that when concluded will form an important part of securing opportunity for BC and Canada in the growing Asian economy.”
BC Agenda For Shared Prosperity Final Report
September 25, 2013 (Vancouver, BC) – The Business Council of British Columbia and the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce today released the final report of the BC Agenda for Shared Prosperity initiative. For a year, the two organizations have sought expert and community-based answers to the question: “How can BC become a more prosperous province for all British Columbians?”
Productivity: BC's Position and Why We Should Care
Over the long term, productivity levels and growth rates are the most important factors determining the evolution of the standard of living in any economy. In more productive economies workers typically receive higher wages and governments have more resources available to pay for services.
Finlayson: It's a mistake to ignore Japan (Troy Media)
Japan may be in a stronger financial position than some other nations with proportionately smaller government debt burdens
D'Avignon Letter to the Editor: Mayor should embrace BC's resource industries
Re: It’s not just bike lanes; city also improving economy, Letters, Aug. 2
Mayor Gregor Robertson seeks to grow our green economy and technology sectors, which we support. Technology represents an exciting growth opportunity for the region and future generations
However, the mayor ignores the role of natural resource industries as the underpinning of the economic well-being for the Lower Mainland and our province. By repeatedly attacking the coal industry, commodities sectors and the port, the mayor sends a message that the city’s economy doesn’t need natural resource or transportation industries.
Submission: Letter to Honourable James Moore re Telecommunications Policy
Correspondence sent on behalf of the Business Council's membership on a matter of national significance, and of considerable importance to British Columbia, pertaining to telecommunications policy, and specifically the regulatory framework for the sector which recently has been under review by Industry Canada.
Exports, Skills and Incomes
Small open economies depend heavily on trade to stimulate growth, provide employment and sustain incomes. The development of competitive export-oriented industries is particularly important for small regional economies that, by definition, aren’t able to reap the economic advantages associated with having large internal/domestic markets. British Columbia is a good case in point.
Sovereign Wealth Funds: A Double-Standard in Canada?
June 5th marked the closing of the three-day Canada-Asia 2013 conference, hosted by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, in Vancouver. The conference featured an array of panel discussions, plenary sessions, and networking opportunities—all focusing on how Canada should position itself with the emerging Asian economies.
During the final panel discussion, panelist Professor Khee Giap Tan posed a challenging question which, because of time constraints, was unfortunately cut short. He was critical of the double-standard between developed and developing countries with respect to Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs). He drew attention to the contradiction of how developed countries want unfettered access to markets and investment opportunities in developing countries, yet when investment flows the other way, developed countries often limit and scrutinize market access.
Letter to Metro Vancouver RE: Air Quality Impact of New and Expanded Coal Shipment Activity in Metro Vancouver
The Business Council of British Columbia addressed written correspondence a proposed recommendations on the potential air quality impacts of new and expanded coal shipment activity in Metro Vancouver being considered by the Board of Metro Vancouver on June 14th, 2013.
Building Stronger Relations with Asia - a Strategic Imperative for Canada
For the past 10 years the Asia Pacific Foundation has conducted a comprehensive opinion survey of Canadians to elicit their views about Asia across a variety of topics, primarily economic. With the growing importance of Asia in the global economic context and deeper trade relations developing between Canada and Asia, BC and the West in particular, this opinion research provides important insights for policy makers navigating through complex public views on economic relations with Asia.
This year's research points to some disconcerting trends for those who, believe that Canada and BC need to build closer relations with Asia and the key countries in the region. If we are to benefit significantly from the 'Asian Century,' Canada must forge constructive and more extensive economic, cultural and political linkages with Asia
Le Nord Pour Tous: Quebec Pushing the Boundaries of Mining Development
Those familiar with mining development in Canada are all too conversant with the tricky juggling act of resource extraction. The demand for social and environmental responsibility, government royalties, and maintaining global competitiveness can all pull in different directions. Government leaders across Canada often pride themselves in having fostered a mining sector that is one of “the most efficient, effective and competitive in the world,” backed by a “world-class environmental protection regime” (Natural Resources Canada, 2013). But despite this optimistic picture, mining development in Canada is often a hotly contested policy arena. Look no further than the Federal government’s push for the rapid development of Ontario’s ‘Ring of Fire’, or the recently rejected coal mine in Comox, to get a flavour for the tug of war between vested interests.
Finlayson: Natural resource industries critical to BC's economic success (Troy Media)
British Columbia is a province with an increasingly urban-based population whose economic success has historically been tied to the efficient extraction, processing and exporting of commodities. In 2011, approximately four-fifths of B.C.’s international merchandise exports consisted of goods produced by the forestry, energy, mining and agri-food industries taken as a group.
This proportion is little changed from 10 years ago, and it is substantially higher than the share of resource-based goods in overall Canadian merchandise exports.
Today’s heavily urban population is poorly equipped to understand the realities of B.C.’s industrial and economic base. Elected officials, media commentators, and the province’s cultural and intellectual elites disproportionately hail from the comfy precincts of the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria. Yet urban British Columbia is not where the export wealth that does so much to underpin our standard of living is mainly generated.
British Columbia should continue to focus on Building Connections with Asia
More so than other jurisdictions in Canada, BC’s economy is being reshaped by Asia’s influence on the global stage. The sheer size of the population in the region suggests that BC should be doing everything it can to continue to leverage the economic benefits coming out of Asia.