Scotiabank President and CEO Rick Waugh addresses the Canadian Business Leadership Forum
TORONTO, Oct. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - There are opportunities for Canadian businesses in emerging markets and it's critical that we work to seize those opportunities by diversifying the countries we invest in and the sectors we do it in said Rick Waugh, President and CEO of Scotiabank while addressing the Canadian Business Leadership Forum in Toronto today.
Both the Bank of Canada and the federal government have pushed a strong pro-trade agenda helping build relationships that open doors to Canadian companies but "it's up to us, the private sector, to win the customers and the business," said Waugh.
Mr. Waugh discussed the strong balance sheets of many Canadian companies and while the Bank of Canada has repeatedly called upon businesses to invest it, more could be. He said that "if we put this capital to work to expand beyond our borders, we can achieve levels of growth simply not possible at home. And we can develop high quality jobs and opportunities for Canadians, especially our trained youth."
When speaking about Canada's global opportunities Mr. Waugh said that "by the middle of this century, emerging markets will account for 70 per cent of global trade, however, right now, less than 8 per cent of Canada' exports and four per cent of outward investments go to those markets."
Mr. Waugh laid out a number of strengths Canadian business have, including "our world-leading banking system, and our strong fiscal position, but also, our ethical business practices, our embracement of, and respect for, cultural diversity, and our leadership in balancing free markets and private ownership with a civil society that respects and strives for humanitarian goals."
Mr. Waugh acknowledged that expanding across borders, and particularly into emerging markets, naturally involves risks, but assured that they are manageable for businesses of all sizes using diversification, partnerships and government programs. Mr. Waugh also offered assistance to companies contemplating international investments. "Those of us with deep international experience can be useful resources and models for other Canadian companies looking to expand abroad."
Mr. Waugh suggested areas to focus on to help Canadian business succeed in new markets. He said that governments should work to create the right environment for Canadian companies to succeed overseas, including trade offices, missions and communications that promote the Canadian brand, but it's up to the private sector to be moving aggressively and searching for new markets. He said that businesses need to "recognize that right now is a significant window of opportunity for growing internationally. Figure out what you are good at, find your competitive advantages and put them to work."
Local partners are often used by Scotiabank to learn from as well as to diversify risk and Mr. Waugh said that this should be considered by other companies when entering new emerging markets. He concluded by saying that "economic growth and opportunity is increasingly being found in emerging markets and for Canadian companies, the long term risks of inaction are far greater than any hurdles that might be faced entering these markets."
The text of the speech can be viewed online at www.scotiabank.com.
Scotiabank is one of North America's premier financial institutions and Canada's most international bank. With more than 81,000 employees, Scotiabank and its affiliates serve some 19 million customers in more than 55 countries around the world. Scotiabank offers a broad range of products and services including personal, commercial, corporate and investment banking. With assets of $670 billion (as at July 31, 2012), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (BNS) and New York Exchanges (BNS). For more information please visit www.scotiabank.com.
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