Challenge and change for 2008: CME survey



    ST. JOHN'S, Oct. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Rising business costs, a loonie above
par, decreasing selling prices and a lack of customers are the top challenges
facing Canada's largest business sector the next 12 months, according to a
survey of Canada's manufacturers and exporters.
    "Considering the challenges that face Canadian manufacturers and
exporters, it comes as no surprise that companies remain extremely cautious
about future business prospects," said Jayson Myers, president of Canadian
Manufacturers & Exporters, during his survey presentation today at the
St. John's Convention Centre. "As with last year, forecasts for sales,
production and profit performance, employment and investment are relatively
weak. A majority of companies report an overall deterioration in their
business environment this year."
    Weaker sales and profits have eroded companies' ability to invest in new
plants, equipment and research and development, according to the survey. More
than one quarter of manufacturers and exporters said last year that they
planned to boost investment in production facilities in 2007 - but only
17 per cent did.
    But a $565-million federal incentive allowing companies to write off
investments in machinery and equipment over two years seems to be making an
impact. The percentage of companies planning to increase investment in this
area has risen to 43 per cent this year from 34 per cent last year.
    A majority of companies surveyed said the two-year Capital Cost Allowance
(CCA), slated to last only two years, needs to be extended for maximum effect.
    Six in 10 surveyed said the write-off's two-year window constrained the
ability to take advantage of it, and 87 per cent recommended that Ottawa
extend the tax deferral until 2012.

    Conducted in the fall, CME's annual management issues survey is
commissioned by Rogers Media's Plant Newspaper , Grant Thornton and Machines
Italia. It is a look at the current and future state of the manufacturing and
exporting industry according to the nation's top CEOs. This year,
1014 companies participated in the survey that focused on an overall business
outlook, global business conditions, employment, investment, public policy
initiatives and innovation.

    The full results can be found at www.cme-mec.ca/pdf/cme08.pdf




For further information:

For further information: Jeff Brownlee VP, Public Affairs, (613)
762-7545

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CANADIAN MANUFACTURERS & EXPORTERS

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