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Small & Medium Businesses: Trade Key to Canada’s Economic Growth

FedEx Trade Index Finds Fees and Tariffs a Significant Barrier to Canadian Importers and Exporters

November 13, 2019

MISSISSAUGA, ON., November 13, 2019— Canadian small and medium businesses (SMEs) have made it clear that economic improvement and international trade are closely linked, with 83 per cent agreeing that increasing trade between Canada and other countries will improve the economy overall. This comes from the 2019 FedEx Trade Index, a poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of FedEx Express Canada, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp (NYSE: FDX).

Despite a majority of SMEs (57 per cent) believing that increasing the amount of trade between Canada and other countries will help their business, only 37 per cent of Canadian SMEs are currently selling goods online. This is in contrast with American counterparts, who are doing more business online (44 per cent).  While both Canadian and US SMEs share the view that trade is important to the economy, the poll confirms both are largely focused on local customers.

“These results are very clear when it comes to our country’s approach to trade,” said Lisa Lisson, President of FedEx Express Canada. “Put simply, it is vital that SMEs and their ability to compete on the global stage remains a priority in Canada, to contribute to economic growth. Looking at how we achieve this growth, we know there is a huge opportunity for Canadian SMEs to harness the digital economy – and they should absolutely be using it to their advantage.”

Looking more deeply at the impact trade has on SMEs who currently import/export, 81 per cent admit that fees and tariffs have had a great deal or some effect on the growth on their business. Also within this group, nearly half (48 per cent) of those surveyed say that variations in fees and tariffs have been a major challenge to their business; and 44 per cent say that import and export fees have been a major challenge to their business.

The poll was conducted from September 17 to September 20, 2019 among 500 SME decision makers in the Canada. These interviews were conducted online using a panel of respondents.  The goal of the research is to understand the impact of international trade among SMEs and as well as their opinions regarding the national economy.

  • Overwhelming Support for NAFTA / CUSMA

While SMEs in Canada feel that trade is critically important to the economy and growth of both their country and their business, many face obstacles when engaging in trade.  Nearly a quarter of SMEs in Canada who import or export goods (24 per cent) say that fees and tariffs have impacted the growth of their business a great deal, representing a real barrier to Canadian SMEs when importing or exporting goods to and from different countries.

Both NAFTA and CUSMA (Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement) have positive support among SMEs in Canada. Nine in ten of those surveyed (90 per cent) in Canada support NAFTA.  A similar amount (86 per cent) of SMEs in Canada expressed their support of CUSMA.  SMEs feel that international trade will not only help the Canadian economy, but their personal business as well.  More than half of Canadian SMEs (57 per cent) think increasing trade between their country and other countries will help their company.

“FedEx is committed to supporting trade policies that boost Canadian economic growth and competitiveness,” said Lisson.  “Canada needs to pursue a comprehensive pro-growth, pro-competitiveness agenda that can help strengthen our global economic leadership.  With 99.5 per cent of the world’s population outside Canada, we need to continue to find ways to reduce barriers to Canadian goods and services around the world.”

About the Survey

This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of FedEx between September 17-September 20, 2019 among a sample of 500 Small Business managers and executives in Canada.  The interviews were conducted online and respondents were sourced using online panels. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

About FedEx Corp.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $70 billion, the company offers integrated business solutions through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 450,000 team members to remain focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. To learn more about how FedEx connects people and possibilities around the world, please visit about.fedex.com.

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