Growing protectionism in the United States has created uncertainty in the Canadian corporate market, but business executives are optimistic about long-term growth, according to a PwC annual survey of Canadian CEOs.
In the survey, more than a third (38%) of Canadian CEOs said they were confident of their company’s growth in the next 12 months, while 59% agreed that it is tougher to compete amid growing protectionism.
Thanks to President Donald Trump’s repeated threats to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian business leaders are today more concerned about protectionism rather than the changes that new technologies can bring in.
The United States is the biggest business partner for Canada, with PwC saying that the U.S. represents 79% of growth for Canadian companies.
“Canadian business leaders must continue to look beyond the U.S. for growth and create alliances and forge partnerships in order to tap into new talent, ideas, and markets, while allowing us to manage risk and drive accelerated innovation,” Bill McFarland, CEO of PwC Canada, has suggested in the report.
The professional services firm has expressed wonder asking why Canadian businesses are not prioritizing innovation, even though most of the CEOs (89%) believe that technology will completely reshape competition in their industry over the next five years.
“Disruptive digital technologies and STEM skills are a recruitment issue for over half of business leaders,” said Bob Moritz, PwC’s Global Chairman.
To navigate the troubled waters, Moritz suggests that companies should emphasize on outsourcing and collaborate with other firms.
“Canadian business leaders will be watching to see how the dust settles in the U.S. and in other parts of the world. At the same time, we should be actively pursuing plans to invest in the U.S. and beyond while also looking at opportunities right here at home,” McFarland added.