Ouch! U.S. Border Tie-ups Could Cost Billions

Plus: Alberta pushes for export diversification, and global changes in Canadian trade patterns—in this week's Export Wire for Canadian small business

Written by John Lorinc

It’s not just you: A new study by U.S. Travel, an industry association, has found that numbing delays and aggravating bureaucratic obstacles for business travelers journeying to the United States could result in $95 billion in lost business over the next five years unless the government sharply improves entry procedures. According to Business Travel News, a survey of 1,200 international business visitors showed that…

“€¦44 percent€¦indicated they would not visit the United States during the next five years because of the country’s entry process. Similarly, 43 percent of traveler respondents who had visited the United States in the past five years said they would “recommend avoiding” a trip there because of hassles involving the entry process.”

Alberta to diversify exports: According to a senior official in Alberta premier Alison Redford’s cabinet, the province is planning to make a concerted effort to increase Alberta’s range of exports beyond energy-related goods and services, the Calgary Herald reported last week. Intergovernmental affairs minister Cal Dallas told a business audience that the province plans to focus on Asia. Calgary Chamber of Commerce president Adam Legge said that he also sees increased opportunities for Alberta SMEs:

“Small businesses, too, have the opportunity to benefit from international markets directly or benefit from local economic opportunities that come from expanded trade. It is a global economy and Alberta needs to be purposeful on its international market efforts. Otherwise, there is another province, state, city or country waiting to take advantage of our inaction. We need to be active to grow international markets and support our business community.”

Canadian export patterns in midst of long-term shift: In the years since the credit crisis, Canadian exporters have increasingly looked outside North America for new markets, entrepreneurs and Export Development Canada officials told The Financial Post last week. And according to senior EDC international business development official Todd Winterhalt,

“The post-crisis move to create trading partnerships in emerging markets such as the next-11 countries— Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam—is not limited to large corporations, he said. Of EDC’s $87.4-billion in investment across 200 countries, $30-billion went to 130 emerging markets last year—a “disproportionately” high figure for a company in which 80% of customers are small to mid-sized businesses.”

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