Corpcentre's Blog

February 18, 2010

Ontario’s Growth Spurt

Get ready, Canada! Ontario is about to set a new record.

With the country now emerging from the recession, it’s time to take stock and assess the damages. As a province dependant heavily on its manufacturing sector, Ontario’s GDP was one of the worst performing, matching those of Newfoundland and Labrador, contracting in 2009 by 3.5%. However, as many companies have a need to restock depleted inventories, Ontario is now benefiting from a business boom. Economic forecasts predict that Ontario’s GDP will grow by 2.4% in 2010, outpacing the national rate that is projected at 2.3%. This will be the first time in eight years that Ontario has excelled in terms of national growth. This growth is expected to continue into 2011 and reach 2.8%, although national levels are expected to reach 3% next year. Economists fear, though, that restocking inventory will only provide temporary relief. As the warehouses and shelves are filled, orders will taper off and return to earlier levels.

The growth in the GDP is good news for a province that is burdened by a massive deficit, the largest of all the nation’s provinces. Higher energy prices as well as competitive foreign markets are making it difficult to cope with the deficit. On the other hand, the HST, due to take begin on July 1, is expected to help ease the deficit burden. Combined with the HST, new, lower corporate taxes are expected to attract investments and new jobs to the province.

While manufacturing will experience a temporary post-recession growth spurt, Canada’s abundant natural resources will still lead the way economically. Saskatchewan is expected to remain the leader among provinces, based on the strength of its oil, potash, agriculture and uranium sectors. British Columbia and Newfoundland, both of whom suffered during the recession, are also expected to experience significant economic expansion in the coming year.

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February 10, 2010

Buy American and Canadian Too!

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was the landmark US$787 billion economic stimulus package intended to jumpstart the ailing U.S. economy. While it contained a variety of elements, one of the more controversial clauses was the “Buy American” stipulation. In order to qualify for government contracts, U.S. companies were obligated to buy only from American suppliers and manufacturers.

As both the U.S. and Canada rely heavily on exports between the two nations, “Buy American” was met with strong opposition from both American and Canadian business. Supporters of the clause argued that America needed to boost sales and manufacturing at home. Opponents noted that supply chains north and south of the border are so intertwined that all parties involved would be hurt, not improved.

After months of deliberation between the nations, a multi-faceted trade deal has been reached between Canada and the U.S. All though yet to be fully ratified (the U.S. requires an executive order while Canada requires each province and territory to sign, as well as the federal cabinet), the agreement reflects the spirit of cooperation that has long existed between the two neighbours.

Canadian companies will now be able to bid on procurement contracts in 37 U.S. states. Similarly, U.S. suppliers will receive reciprocal access to provincial procurement. As the possibility of future U.S. federal funding is quite realistic, the current deal contains a commitment to fast-track negotiations on possible “Buy American” stipulations.

As a result of this reaffirmation of the strong links that connect the two nations, talks in Canada of promoting “Buy Canadian” retaliatory actions have been suspended.

Rather than just looking at what’s good for each other, both Canada and the U.S. have agreed that maintaining the long-standing friendship will have a positive payout for both countries.

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