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Political Uncertainty Impeding International Trade, New Sage Study Finds

Canadian Businesses Have Brighter Outlook On Global Trade Than the US

Highlights:

  • 31% of Canadian businesses see political uncertainty as the biggest barrier to investing in trade internationally
  • 29% of Canadian businesses believe removing trade barriers is the most important way for the government to support international trade
  • 64% of Canadian business expect an increase in the amount of trade with customers and suppliers over the next year

Richmond, B.C. (July 3, 2019) Sage, the market leader in cloud business management solutions, today released the Canadian and global findings from its We Power the Nation survey. Polling 3,000 businesses in 12 countries, the latest research from Sage found that in 10 of the 12 nations surveyed, respondents cited “political uncertainty” as the largest barrier to their organization’s ability to invest in international trade in the next 12 months.

Businesses in Brazil and South Africa expressed the most political concerns (41%), followed by Spain (38%), with Canada ranking sixth (31%). Meanwhile, Europe was viewed as a priority trading market for all 12 countries, with North America close behind as it was a top three for all but one country.

Despite their concerns, Canadian businesses remain more optimistic than their international counterparts, with 64% expecting the amount of trade with customers and suppliers to increase next year, compared to 55% in the U.S. and 49% in the U.K. 58% of Canadian businesses have already exported goods in the past 12 months, compared to 29% in the US. Seventy-five percent of Canadian businesses also rely on imports, making them one of the largest importers of the countries surveyed, behind only Brazil and Spain.

Given the importance of international trade, Canadian businesses are expecting the government to demonstrate its leadership with 29 per cent believing that removing trade barriers is the most important way for the government to support their international trade plans. 

“Despite the current state of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) and other geopolitical headwinds internationally, Canada remains a committed trading nation. Our business success in large part depends on our ability to trade internationally,” said Paul Struthers, EVP and Managing Director of Sage Canada. “This survey demonstrates what Canadian businesses are expecting from our government to help them succeed. That includes creating a more trade-friendly environment both internationally and domestically.”

Seeking Efficiencies and Resources

Aside from removing trade barriers, more than a quarter (26%) of Canadian businesses believe that providing better technology tools to help facilitate trade should be the government’s second priority. The study shows that 42% of respondents are already automating compliance processes with technology, compared to 35% in the US. 

Providing investment incentives and funding is cited as the third priority by nearly a quarter of Canadian businesses (24%). Other priorities include increasing direct conversations between government and businesses on growth needs (24%) and developing opportunities in international markets (23%).

Methodology 

We Power the Nation includes the findings of independent research commissioned by Sage and conducted by YouGov. YouGov conducted online research amongst businesses in 12 international markets. Samples in each of the 12 countries were split evenly between small (6-49 employees), medium (50-249 employees) and large (250+ employees) businesses. In total, 2994 businesses participated in the research between 19th March and 5th April 2019. The data has been weighted to ensure that all countries are represented equally.

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Media contact:

Betty Tian
Sage
Office: 604-207-3611
[email protected]

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About Sage

Sage is the global market leader for technology that helps businesses of all sizes manage everything from money to people – whether they’re a start-up, scale-up or enterprise. We do this through Sage Business Cloud - the one and only business management solution that customers will ever need, comprising Accounting, Sage Intacct, Enterprise Management, People & Payroll and Payments & Banking.