Canada missing out on opportunities to build relationships with BRIC countries



    OTTAWA, Jan. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada is missing out on the enormous
opportunities offered by the BRIC countries-Brazil, Russia, India and
China-the Conference Board argues in a new report released today. Canada's
share of trade and investment with the BRICs is small and linkages with these
countries-especially China and India, or "Chindia"- need to be deepened.
    "Canadian businesses must take advantage of the low-cost manufacturing
and services available in the BRIC countries, particularly China and India.
This would then allow us to concentrate on moving up the value chain by
becoming specialized in knowledge-intensive, high-value-added goods and
services," said Sheila Rao, Senior Research Associate. "There are also huge
export and investment opportunities for Canada in these countries. China and
India are resource hungry, have massive infrastructure needs, and their
enormous and growing middle-class population is boosting demand for products
worldwide."
    Less than two per cent of Canada's merchandise exports go to China, which
is the largest of the BRIC export destinations. Canadian investment in China
represents less than 1 per cent of Canada's total outward foreign direct
investment. Canadian outward foreign direct investment in India, meanwhile, is
all but invisible.
    What about the risk of lost jobs and diminishing market share that the
BRICs represent for Canada?
    BRIC exports, particularly those from China and India, do represent
potential job losses in developed economies such as Canada and the United
States. This threat is most immediate for industries dependent on low-skilled
labour, reinforcing the importance for Canada to move to higher-value added
goods and services. Over the past decade Canada's share of U.S. merchandise
imports has dropped while that of China has increased. China is now the second
largest exporter to the U.S., after Canada; in 1997 it was in fourth place.
The share of U.S. imports from India, Brazil and Russia also increased, but to
a much smaller extent. Like Canada, the U.S. is importing low-cost
manufactured goods from China.
    The publication, The Rise of the BRICs: What Does it Mean for Canada?,
can be downloaded free of charge at www.e-library.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, (613) 526-3090
ext. 448, corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca


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