B.C. SMEs retreat from global trade

    Pacific province falls from highest level of international selling in
    Canada to third lowest

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, May 5 /CNW/ - Global trade activity among small- and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in British Columbia plummeted significantly
between 2007 and 2008, moving the Pacific province's standing from the highest
level of global trade in Canada to the third lowest.
    According to the UPS Business Monitor(SM) Canada, conducted by TNS
Canadian Facts, the number of B.C. SMEs selling goods overseas dropped from 22
per cent in 2007 to only 16 per cent in 2008, putting it ahead of only the
Prairie provinces and Atlantic Canada. The number of SMEs sourcing goods from
overseas also dropped from 34 per cent in 2007 to 30 per cent in 2008.
    "The trend we're seeing in B.C. is a shift in focus from the global to
the domestic economy, which is the polar opposite of what SMEs in other
provinces, such as Alberta and Ontario, are doing," said UPS Canada President
Mike Tierney. "It's important to remember that global trade is an inevitable
and crucial part of sustaining a well-rounded successful business. Maintaining
overseas partners during good times and bad will ensure consistency in
business growth while protecting against the effects of economic downturn."
    Conversely, sourcing goods from outside of Canada among Ontario SMEs
jumped from 30 per cent in 2007 to 40 per cent in 2008. Meanwhile, Alberta -
where SMEs had the lowest level of global trade in Canada in 2007 - saw an
increase in sourcing from abroad, from six per cent in 2007 to 39 per cent in
2008, and an increase from eight to 23 per cent in selling abroad.
    The surge in global trade may be fuelling optimism among Ontario SMEs
where only six per cent of respondents predicted a decline in business despite
the faltering economy while almost half (47 per cent) predict growth in their
near future. Optimism in Alberta is similarly high with only nine per cent of
SMEs predicting a worsening of their economic position and 49 per cent
predicting an improvement. However, Alberta's numbers have changed
significantly since 2007 when zero SMEs foresaw a worsening of their economic
position and 79 per cent predicted an improvement.
    Though predictions of business growth or decline have remained unchanged
in B.C. between 2007 and 2008, the number of SMEs in the province predicting a
decline in their workforce has risen from zero in 2007 to seven per cent in
2008. Outside of B.C., only SMEs in Alberta and Quebec predicted a greater
drop in their workforce in 2008 over 2007.
    The United States remains the primary target for sourcing and selling
goods outside of Canada among all businesses. However, Canadian SMEs
conducting global trade have begun to diversify geographically, targeting
global markets in Asia, Europe and South America.
    "We're beginning to see the impact of the economic downturn in the U.S.
in global trade trends," said Tierney. "Businesses here are beginning to
realize the wealth of opportunities outside of the NAFTA comfort zone and are
taking advantage of them as a means of weathering the economic storm."
    SMEs in Quebec remain leery of global trade with 10 per cent citing it as
being detrimental and 58 per cent (the highest in Canada) preferring to
maintain trade restrictions.
    Despite the recent economic decline in Alberta fuelled by the drop in the
energy sector, the Rocky Mountain province remains the top choice for SMEs in
Canada to establish a new location for their business outside of their home
province, followed by B.C. and the Prairies.
    The UPS Business Monitor Canada survey was conducted by TNS Canadian
Facts between November 12 and December 3, 2008, and surveyed a total of 505
SMEs across the country. The entire study has a margin of error +/- 4.4 per

    About UPS

    UPS (NYSE:   UPS) is the world's largest package delivery company and a
global leader in supply chain and freight services. With more than a century
of experience in transportation and logistics, UPS is a leading global trade
expert equipped with a broad portfolio of solutions. Headquartered in Atlanta,
GA., UPS serves more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. The company
can be found on the Web at UPS.com. To get UPS news direct, visit

    About TNS

    TNS is a global market information and insight group. Its strategic goal
is to be recognized as the global leader in delivering value-added information
and insights that help its clients make more effective business decisions. TNS
delivers innovative thinking and excellent service across a network of 80
countries. Working in partnership with clients, TNS provides high-quality
information, analysis and insight that improve understanding of consumer
behaviour. TNS is the world's leading provider of customized services,
combining sector knowledge with expertise in the areas of Product Development
& Innovation, Brand & Communications, Stakeholder Management, Retail &
Shopper. TNS is a major supplier of consumer panel, media intelligence and
audience measurement services. www.tnsglobal.com
    TNS is the sixth sense of business(TM).

For further information:

For further information: Shannon Morton, APEX Public Relations, (416)
924-4442 ext. 253, smorton@apexpr.com; Tara Smith, UPS Canada, (905) 676-1708,

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