International Trade and Its Benefits to Canada

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Analytical Report

Canada has become one of the most desired countries to invest in across the decades. The reason for that is rather simple: Canadian labor is well-educated, and the economy is strong with its international business experience that had grown quite wealthy as of late (“Why invest in Canada?” 2017). As a member of G20, Canada is the second most preferred country preferred to be a business partner. Moreover, Canada’s economic growth exceeds that of each G7 country and is steadily gaining strength since the last decade (2006-2015). With the coming Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) entry into force, Canadian organizations will have a vast amount of possibilities for trading with both NAFTA and EU. Needless to say, that such access to international market will provide a significant asset for both Canadian corporations and foreign investors seeking to work with Canada. Another significant advantage that Canada presents is the low business tax costs. The business taxes in Canada are the lowest in the G7 as of now and are lower than those of USA by 46 percent. Two more points leave no doubt about the sound nature of Canadian international collaboration possibilities. Namely competitive R&D environment and financial stability.

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As it becomes evident, Canada’s international business experience is currently stably increasing. However, international organizations mainly avoided collaborating with Canada up until 21st century. Nevertheless, with a steady growth in international cooperation that the Canadian organizations are currently experiencing, any major international corporation headquartered in Canada will have a strong foundation for working with foreign partners.

According to “The International Experience with Public-Private Partnerships” (2014) “Canada has become one of the most advanced and active markets for public-private partnerships” (para. 4). This gives a lot of insight on the opportunities that Canada has regarding international collaboration and investment opportunities. Therefore, both Canada and possible foreign organizations will be interested in cooperation. Furthermore, Workman (2017) provides a list of countries that are currently actively collaborating with Canada via trades forming a great source of Canadian incomes. Those countries are (from the most involved to least) the USA, China, United Kingdom, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Germany, India, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Italy, Brazil, and Australia. Naturally, this list excludes other countries that Canada trades with less actively. This means that there is a significant amount of experience that Canadian organizations have regarding international collaboration and commerce.

Thus, the facts present a picture of a country that possesses a great experience, countless opportunities, and strong public-private partnership capabilities. This stipulates its ability to grow further and expand. The expansion, in turn, will provide Canada with the capacity to advance its business abroad creating various international collaborations that will benefit both Canada and the foreign partners.

Canada’s Comparative Advantage in Advancing its Business Abroad

According to Burlton (2014), “A government-oriented services framework has been developed by the Government of Canada. GSRM (Governments Strategic Reference Model) takes the lifecycle perspective of a generic government service from concept through decommissioning” (p. 67). This describes what course did the Canadian organizations take to realize their strategies of advancing business abroad via developed mechanisms of business processes.

An article published by Canadian Government titled “Canada’s Enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy to Strengthen Canada’s Extractive Sector Abroad” (2016) presents an overview of how the Canadian organizations intend to enhance their entrepreneurship by working with foreign partners. This plan is based on the enhanced Strategy announced on November 14, 2014. This policy states that Canadian organizations intend to work abroad at the same time representing and advocating for Canadian values. While remaining loyal to Canada, the organizations are planning to preserve highest ethical standards. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) of Canadian organizations will also be supported by the government, while at the same time pursuing the goal of increasing the beneficial nature of the Canadian countries’ investments.

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There are seven key elements to the enhanced Strategy developed by the Canadian government. The first element is government’s intention of strengthening the provided support that will promote CSR initiatives. This support will be integrated in Canada’s diplomatic affairs in foreign countries. If this element is successfully incorporated in international trades, Canadian organizations will be viewed more favorably in foreign countries. The second factor is closely related to the above-mentioned high quality of labor force in Canada. The Canadian government will provide additional training for Canada’s missions in foreign lands to establish a greater quality of international trade and collaboration. Furthermore, Canada intends to strengthen the position of the Office of the CSR Counsellor to support the CSR policy further. Counselor’s responsibilities will also include addressing Canada’s National Contact Point (NCP) – a reliable mechanism of negating possible conflicts of interests. All of the organizations that represent Canada internationally will have to align with CSR guidelines. If the companies’ leaderships refuse to do so, various penalties will follow. The international entrepreneurship will include and be based on benchmark CSR guidance released since 2009. Finally, the organizations are expected to be aware of the sector-specific CSR guidance including the guidelines provided by the Canadian Office of the CSR Counsellor.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (2017) report on another branch of Canadian business strengthening its positions. Although telecommunication services in Canada are advancing only on the territory of the country itself, this may serve as an example of the country’s desire to increase the potential of its business in every aspect both abroad and internally. Moreover, the increasing quality of services in Canada will most likely interest foreign investors in trading, which will result in more possibilities for Canadian business to gain advantage abroad. Basically, the program of increasing the telecommunication services is expected to strengthen the country’s internal positions to give possible foreign investors a better picture of the Canadian economy. Of course, it is not the first and foremost goal, but it is a goal nonetheless.

What is far more important is the current focus on the European Union that the Canadian business has. According to The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (2015), “Comprised of 28 Member States with a total population of over 507 million and a GDP of over $20 trillion in 2014, the EU is the world’s largest single common market, foreign investor and trader” (para. 1). Thus, the Canadian government perceives the European Union as a high possible source of income that will be of utmost importance to the Canadian business expansion both abroad and internally. While collaborating with the members of the EU, Canada will be able to improve its economic state, as well as promote its possibilities to cooperate with various foreign investors.

Canada-European Union Commercial Relationship will promote the quality of Canadian international trade, internal and foreign services, opportunities for investments, and market opportunities. The relationships with the European Union are made possible through different documents and agreements. The two larger ones are Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA) and Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (FIPAs). The first agreement was concluded in September 2014, when Canada and EU successfully finished negotiations. This document is a milestone for both Canada and the European Union. While Canada does not formally belong to EU, the Canada-EU relationships are far from neutral. CETA will be a basis for creating a vast amount of opportunities for mutual international collaboration for each member of EU and Canada. Needless to say, that this cooperation will result in better exporting and importing opportunities, and a greater number of high-quality work-places.

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The Canadian FIPAs are currently active for seven members of EU: Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and the Slovak Republic). Nevertheless, in close future, the FIPAs are expected to extend their influence also to involve remaining 21 States. Should all of the 28 Member States be engaged via the FIPAs, the existing form of FIPAs will be replaced for a better and more in-depth coverage of trading possibilities. The FIPAs’ goal is to promote Canadian international investments; this is beneficial for Canadian entrepreneurs as well as those based in foreign lands. This document allows every member of EU to cooperate with Canadian organizations successfully. This is advantageous on different levels. The Canadian economy will receive a steady boost, while Canada as an international business partner will always be viewed as a trustworthy and reliable source of mutual profit.

Thus, it is evident that any company headquartered in Canada is able to use a number of different assets as well as Canada’s wealth of experience in international trade to expand their market abroad collaborating with various countries successfully. Most prominent possible partners will probably be the members of the EU because of the current Canada-European Union relationships that are regulated by various agreements (e. g. CETA, FIPAs). Therefore, the Canadian government has created a sound basis promoting international trade and investments for every Canadian organization. Protected by the agreements, and stimulated by the CSR-oriented policy, the Canadian organizations are presented with a vast amount of possibilities to promote their undertakings in various countries.

Recommendations for Investing Abroad for a Canadian Company

The Canadian company chosen for this assessment is First Quantum Minerals Ltd., which is a Vancouver-based metals and mining corporation that focuses on the exploration, mining, and development of minerals. Currently, it holds assets in Spain, Australia, Zambia, Mauritania, Peru, and Argentina and is one of the leading Canadian producers of zinc, copper, nickel, and gold (First Quantum Minerals Ltd., n.d.). Because the company operates in the sphere of resource extraction, it is important to look for emerging economies that can show potential to be successful in this sector and play on the comparative advantage of Canada, which is predominantly associated with the mining sphere.

Comparative Advantage and P3s

The key strengths of Canada within the comparative advantage framework is related to natural resources and related industries. The abundance of resources gives Canadian companies a significant comparative advantage in the industries that deal with their extraction and processing. Therefore, the benefit of the country’s economy can become particularly beneficial in the context of advancement of businesses abroad. It is recommended for First Quantum to incorporate the P3s (public-private-partnerships) within the context of the comparative advantage of Canada. Public-private partnerships “are a long-term performance-based approach to procuring public infrastructure that can enhance governments’ ability to hold the private sector accountable for public assets over their expected lifespan” (PPP Canada, 2016, para. 3). P3s will play an increasingly important role in bridging the gap between the demand and investment in infrastructure (“Bridging the gap,” 2016). Therefore, it is advised that First Quantum makes sure that it addresses the political, social, environmental, economic, and cultural challenges that characterize the emerging market.

Investing in Africa (Ethiopia and Cote d’Ivoire) and Brazil

Investment into infrastructure is a tool that can help both businesses and governments support the investment into the private sector, especially within emerging economies. With regards to the resource extraction industry of Canada, businesses can focus on investing into corporate social responsibility procedures when expanding into new economies. As mentioned previously, the Sub-Saharan region of Africa shows extreme potential for Canadian investors, especially those that operate in the resource extraction industry. Despite the fact that the mining sector of the area is not ready to meet the industry, the vast mineral reserves present an opportunity for Canadian companies interested in doing business in emerging economies. It is important to mention that the region of Sub-Saharan Africa experienced accelerated growth in Mozambique and Cote d’Ivoire due to the improved performance of the mining sector; nevertheless, the economic outlook can be regarded as bleak because of the limited governmental investment and the high burden of debt. It is expected that in the future, Sub-Saharan Africa will begin to steadily recover from the economic decline of 2016 characterized by challenges such as fiscal constraints, weak investor sentiment, and political uncertainty. In 2018, it is expected that the overall GDP of the region will increase by 3.5%, which presents a massive opportunity for foreign investors (First Quantum) to explore their potential in the most rapidly growing economies in the Sub-Saharan Africa. As to the specific countries of the region that can be promising for Canadian investors, it is important to state that Ethiopia and Cote d’Ivoire are expected to become the most rapidly growing economies in 2017, expanding by at least 7%.

While the majority of Canadian investment is situated in the United States, it is recommended for First Quantum to invest into Brazilian businesses. Brazil is currently regarded as one of the most promising markets for Canadian companies that work in the sphere of resource extraction, with the oil and gas sector being highly developed. Still, Brazilian companies require the support of foreign investors, with public debt exceeding previously existing levels.

Currently, Brazilian shares are situated between expensive and cheap, with the selected companies being open to foreign investment for support and growth. In the past, the country was not properly governed and was largely undermined by the inflation. Moreover, the economy predominantly depended on mining and coffee production while now it is becoming a successfully operating democracy that develops its agribusiness, finance, and manufacturing. It is important to mention that Brazil cannot be considered an emerging economy because it deals with a large trade surplus; on the other hand, the figures are shrinking since consumers decide to pay more on imported products, such as Asian-produced electronics and medical technology produced in the United States. Moreover, First Quantum can benefit from expanding the business to Brazil because the currency is robust, with banks willing to extend long¬-term mortgages for the population, as well as car loans and credit cards because the local currency allows them to do so.

Pros and Cons of the Advice

When it comes to the advantages and disadvantages of the recommendation to invest in Brazil and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the fact that both economies are experiencing growth and are expended to expand in the nearest future. The mining industry and resource extraction of the mentioned emerging economies presents a significant opportunity for the selected company, especially with the additional investment in the sector.

On the other hand, First Quantum Minerals can meet significant cultural challenges when expanding its operations or invest into Sub-Saharan Africa because of a significant gap between the cultural values of Canada and those of the African continent. Environmental challenges can also limit the operations of the company that works in the sphere of resource extraction, especially in Africa, where the operational standards may not meet those that companies in Canada usually expect. Political challenges can also present a disadvantage for investing into both recommended regions due to the history of political instabilities that affect the economy; however, the current state of affairs suggests that the economies are stable enough to provide foreign investors with opportunities for growth and expansion.

References

Bridging the gap: Meeting the infrastructure challenge with public-private partnerships. (2016). Web.

Burlton, R. T. (2014). Handbook on business process management: Strategic alignment, governance, people and culture (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

“Canada’s enhanced corporate social responsibility strategy to strengthen Canada’s extractive sector abroad.” (2016). Global Affairs Canada. Web.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (n.d.). Overview. Web.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. (2017). Government of Canada undertakes measures to advance telecommunication services in Canada. Web.

PPP Canada. (2016). About P3s. Web.

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service. (2015). Focus on the European Union. Web.

“The international experience with public-private partnerships.” (2014) Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Web.

“Why Invest in Canada?” (2017) The Canadian Trade & Commission Service. Web.

Workman, D. (2017). Canada’s top trading partners. Web.

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