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Despite opportunity, Canadian businesses see barriers to global trade: RBC poll

RBC’s new Go Global program will support businesses on their trade journey from exploration to execution

TORONTO, March 5, 2019 - Too few Canadian companies are taking advantage of global trade and could be missing out on valuable growth opportunities. While recent research suggests that only four per cent of small and medium sized enterprises in Canada are exporting goods1, a new RBC survey of owners and C-suite executives from mid-market Canadian businesses, shows that 62 per cent of business leaders who are not currently exporting know that it could increase their revenue.

Why aren’t more Canadian businesses exporting?
The poll took a deeper look into the barriers that are holding Canadian businesses back from taking their business global. It shows that knowing which markets are right for their business and having access to trade knowledge and advice would prompt more businesses to seek expansion outside their local market.

Canadian businesses would be more likely to export if they knew where:


the best opportunities were located


to attract customers and generate new business


to go for trade knowledge/resources


to find funding capital and risk mitigation strategies


to access personalized trade advice and ongoing support specific to the needs
of their business


to find new partners in offshore markets


“It’s our observation that when businesses expand and take advantage of global opportunities they experience increased innovation and become more competitive which leads to improved productivity,” says Greg Grice, Executive Vice-President, Business Financial Services at RBC. “We want to shrink the world for our clients by providing them with the tools, resources and expert advice on how to identify and enter new markets successfully.”

RBC launches Go Global program
Sixty-five per cent of businesses not currently exporting plan to start within the next three years, according to the poll. These findings underline the demand from Canadian business leaders for information and strategic guidance on expanding into new markets. RBC has launched a comprehensive Go Global program to support businesses throughout every step of their trade journey – from identifying new markets and building an entry strategy through to execution.

RBC Global Connect provides a gateway to trade
As part of the Go Global program, RBC has introduced RBC GlobalConnect, a comprehensive digital platform dedicated to helping Canadian businesses trade internationally through two new capabilities, the RBC Trade Club and RBC Trade Resources. RBC is the only Canadian bank to enter into t he Trade Club Alliance with thirteen other financial institutions from around the world. Through this alliance, RBC has established the RBC Trade Club, a global network of more than 15,000 importers and exporters that provides members with access to their first or next trade partner. To further help business owners, the RBC Trade Resources portal provides access to over 190 country profiles, tools and calculators in one place, allowing businesses to explore new markets and manage their trade operations.

RBC is also undertaking a number of innovative programs to support Canadian businesses that demonstrate the bank’s commitment to being a trusted partner on their trade journey. RBC has partnered with regional Boards of Trade across the country to deliver the Trade Accelerator Program, which provides strategy, resources and mentorship to help businesses develop an export plan. RBC has also deepened its collaboration with Export Development Canada (EDC) delivering new advice and support capabilities, as well as the recent launch of the EDC Trade Expansion Lending Program that will make for a simpler, faster lending process.

“Through our partnership with RBC, we’ve been able to share our vast trade expertise and extensive research, so that together we can work to empower Canadians,” says Mike Neals, Acting Senior Vice-President of the Business Development Group at EDC.
“Canada’s economic prosperity depends on being able to understand the potentials and the risks in global markets, which is why we’re excited to partner in programs that will help Canadian businesses reach further and achieve their growth aspirations.”

Global agreements could spur diversification
There is an untapped opportunity for Canadian businesses to look beyond traditional markets and seek opportunities in new and emerging high growth economies. A myriad of import and export options will be within reach for Canadian business with nearly 40 countries thanks to new trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union. RBC’s depth of knowledge, coupled with the new Go Global capabilities, will alleviate trade pain points for businesses as they connect with buyers and sellers across the globe.

For some business owners, the benefits of being open to exporting are already clear. The poll found that among Canadian businesses currently exporting, on average 40 per cent of their sales come from outside Canada. On top of that, 77 per cent say that exporting has increased the revenue of their business.

About the Go Global Poll
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between January 9 and 14, 2019 on behalf of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). For this survey, a sample of 105 business owners and C-Suite executives from Canadian businesses with $3 to $100 million in annual revenues were interviewed. Quota sampling was employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition approximates the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±10.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all business owners and executives of similarly sized Canadian companies been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 84,000+ employees who bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 16 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 33 other countries. Learn more at‎

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For more information, please contact:
Jeff Lanthier, RBC Corporate Communications, 416-903-7388


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