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Economies booming, pent up demand presents opportunity for trade: EDC

Canada should follow the example set by Australia that decided in the mid-1990s to target the Asian economies for trade, tapping into untold potential for growth.

That was the message delivered by Economic Development Canada’s Peter Hall, in an opening session at the Canadian Construction Association’s day-long Industry Summit webinar. 

“The world economy is hot and there’s a tremendous amount of pent-up demand,” Hall explained. The Vice-president and chief economist at EDC ran through the recent economic indicator data, showing strong growth in retail and manufacturing, with the price indices matching that trend.

He said there is good indication that Canada’s GDP will show strong growth this and next year, despite his warning that the significant growth in housing starts indicates a dangerous ‘bubble’ that will have to be reckoned with eventually.

In trade, developing countries – which were not as affected by the pandemic’s economic shutdown in the last 18 months – have surged in the export outlook, with developed countries rebounding slower.

And that is what Canada should be keeping an eye on: “Growth is external, it’s outside our borders.”

Canada has every reason to think it can also target Asia, given that China is no farther from our marine ports than it is from Australia.

But, he cautioned, that requires a real build-up of our trade gateways and corridors and the other trade-enabling infrastructure.

“You’re going to need to build up the infrastructure – and it’s a huge amount of infrastructure – to facilitate all that is needed for this (targeting).”

CCA President Mary Van Buren said Hall’s presentation underscores the need for federal, regional and provincial governments to think about their infrastructure investment strategies and policies.

Van Buren reminded all the members in the webinar to visit CCA’s website to join the association’s efforts to get the attention of all parties in the federal election campaign. The CCA is asking members to submit their letters, outlining the need to focus on infrastructure investment, to their local candidates.

You can access that letter through this link.