(Barrie McKenna – Globe & Mail)
For Stephen Harper, signing free trade deals in Europe and Asia isn’t just about selling more Canadian planes, beef or potash. It’s about creating jobs at home by turning smaller Canadian companies into export champions.
“We have made it a priority to support the men and women who run [small and medium enterprises], especially as they explore opportunities in emerging markets and look to take advantage of Canada’s new trade agreements,” the Prime Minister said at a recent event in Mississauga.
It’s a laudable goal. But the strategy may be more political slogan than effective policy at work.
“To get small businesses into exports is very difficult, and free trade agreements don’t necessarily do a great job of that,” argued Dan Ciuriak, a former assistant chief economist at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Click here to read more.