Manufacturers need strong support to reverse massive and growing trade deficit

Toronto, March 14, 2017

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) along with its strategic partners, today released Increasing Access to Domestic and Foreign Markets, the final of the five reports that provide detailed analysis and recommendations stemming from CME’s Industrie 2030 initiative aimed at doubling manufacturing output by 2030.

Manufacturing Matters:

  • Directly has 1.7 million employees (10 per cent of the entire Canadian workforce)
  • Directly and indirectly accounts for 30 per cent of economic output and 27 per cent of all employment
  • Directly responsible for $650 billion in output and more than two-thirds of all exports

“Increasing access to customers at home and in international markets is critical for the long-term growth of Canada’s manufacturing sector,” stated Mathew Wilson, Senior Vice President at CME. “Regrettably, Canadian industry is losing ground on both fronts. In 2000, Canadians accounted for close to four per cent of all manufactured goods output globally, today it is less than two per cent. In 1990 domestic industry supplied about 55 per cent of the demand for manufactured goods, today that share has fallen to only 38 per cent. The result has been a large and rapidly increasing trade deficit, slower economic growth and job losses.”

Throughout the Industrie 2030 consultations with nearly 1,250 business executives from across the country, several practical recommendations were identified to expand market access, including:

  • Create promotional campaigns celebrating Canadian-made products;
  • Leverage Canada’s domestic procurement system to foster new product development, innovation and local production;
  • Negotiate free and fair trade agreements with reciprocal access for manufactured goods and strong trade enforcement mechanisms; and
  • Improve export support programs.

“The Industrie 2030 initiative deals with the critical concerns of Canadian manufacturers and exporters. In this increasingly uncertain environment, securing sales both at home and abroad is a greater concern than ever, and requires careful thought and strategizing,” stated Peter Hall, Vice-President and Chief Economist, EDC. “The hesitant global business environment is creating a unique opportunity for Canadian firms to go where others are somewhat more tentative. But there’s nothing automatic about it; leveraging this opportunity successfully will require carefully thought-out action plans.”

“Canadians have for too long overlooked the economic and strategic importance of domestic manufacturing,” added Wilson. “Our ability to build goods, sell them at home, and export them around the world is critical for our prosperity as a nation and for each individual Canadian. But over the past 15 years our trade surplus with the world has ballooned to nearly $125 billion annually. We need strong coordinated action to reverse these trends and strengthen the economy. The upcoming federal budget is the ideal time to begin to introduce these supportive measures, especially those linked to innovation and procurement.”
To read the report and the detailed recommendations, visit:

About Industrie 2030
Through its Industrie 2030 initiative, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) – Canada’s leading trade and industry association and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada -consulted more than 1,250 leading industry executives and conducted detailed research to define specific recommendations to overcome challenges and create a roadmap for the future of manufacturing, to strengthen its footprint across the country, and to drive growth, innovation, wealth creation and jobs.

Core recommendations include:

  • Building a strong labour pool and skilled workforce;
  • Accelerating adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies;
  • Fostering innovation, commercialization and new product development;
  • Creating a competitive business environment in Canada; and
  • Increasing access to domestic ‎and foreign markets.

Our strategic partners have helped CME throughout this process by defining the agenda and supporting the research and consultation exercise. Like CME, they believe that a strong Canada can and must have a strong manufacturing sector at its heart. From business associations to manufacturers to key service providers, these groups have been instrumental in creating this report and in supporting the growth of manufacturing in Canada. A special thanks to BDO, RBC, Food and Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), KPMG, Export Development Canada (EDC), Salesforce Bombardier, Tenaris, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, Microsoft, Canada and Xerox.

This report is the third detailed report of the five core recommendations. Earlier reports, including the summary analysis and recommendations are available at


Since 1871, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters has been helping manufacturers grow at home and, compete around the world. Our focus is to ensure manufacturers are recognized as engines for growth in the economy, with Canada acknowledged as both a global leader and innovator in advanced manufacturing and a global leader in exporting. CME is a member-driven association that directly represents more than 2,500 leading companies who account for an estimated 82 per cent of manufacturing output and 90 per cent of Canada’s exports.


Stefi Proulx
Director of Communications & Branding
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
(613) 292-6070