Saturday, December 13, 2008

Canadians fear rise of BRIC nations

Canadians fear rise of BRIC nationsMISSISSAUGA, ON, Dec. 11, 2008 (Canada NewsWire)
Study shows two-thirds say emerging economies direct competitive threat to Canada

A recent study of Canadians' attitudes towards globalization has revealed two-thirds of respondents believe the emerging economic powers of Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC nations) represent a competitive threat to Canada's economy with disparate opinions between have and have-not provinces.

Commentary: I am not surprised.

The Angus Reid study, commissioned by UPS Canada, shows Canada's strongest regional economies are most fearful of the rise of emerging nations overseas, while still maintaining that Canada plays a significant role in the global marketplace.

Commentary: Canadians and Canadian companies need to wake up to new global economic realities and growth trends.

Canadians living in the country's western prairies - which have recently emerged as one of Canada's strongest regional economies - are particularly leery of the BRIC nations with almost three quarters (73 per cent) citing the rising economies as competitive threats. British Columbians, who have experienced heightened economic activity in the past few years, fuelled partially by the excitement surrounding the 2010 Olympics, were second in line with 70 per cent seeing the BRIC economies as a competitive threat.

Commentary: The economic participation of Canadians whose origin are in BRIC countries might be providing evidence of greater productivity and desire to succeed in these regions?

Conversely, Canada's traditionally weaker economies in the Atlantic Provinces are the least concerned about the BRIC nations, with only 53 per cent expressing concern.

Commentary: This would make sense as proportionally fewer BRIC immigrants settle in these areas. It would be clearer to see the competitive drive of BRIC immigrants and their contribution to economic growth in these regions if there were more of them.

"What we're seeing is a split between the have and have-not provinces in terms of their level of insecurity when it comes to the BRIC nations," said UPS President Mike Tierney. "With Brazil giving Saskatchewan's agriculture industry a run for its money and China's booming manufacturing sector hurting Canadian exports, it stands to reason that those with the strongest economies and most opportunity appear to be the most fearful of the economic damage that could be caused by the emergence of the BRIC nations."

Commentary: Canada has several competitiveness indexes and national think tanks contributing recommendations for infrastructural and regulatory reforms necessary for Canadians and Canadian companies to participate in the global economy in a winning position. It depends upon who is listening and it appears that Canada's political elites are more interested in national politics rather than national competitiveness.

A little more than 60 per cent of central Canadians believe Canada plays a major role in the global economy, while 58 per cent of British Columbians and Albertans also perceived Canada to be a top player. Meanwhile, Quebeckers and Atlantic Canadians were the least inclined to lend significance to Canada's global economic contribution.

Commentary: Canada's regional nature is a real thorn in its side for developing national concensus in global positioning as seen in Australia. A new social framework needs to be implemented which provides equitable advancement for all regions. It appears to be more of a disparity of communication and negotiation skills more than anything else. Have Canadians burned out their ability to build national cohesiveness in terms of economic growth?

"Despite recent reports highlighting the decline of Canada's significance in global commerce, Canadians in prosperous regions remain optimistic about our contribution," said Tierney. "However, the key will be to couple that optimism with actions that will ensure the prosperity is maintained, particularly given the recent challenges facing our economy."

Commentary: Perhaps there is a national in-group delusion that Canada is doing what needs to be done to improve global competitiveness and coupled to a national character of risk-aversion national politics provides the ideal method of deferring implementation of recommended sweeping reforms which are painful and do not maintain traditional positions of power and influence for those Canadians and Canadian companies which would suffer from greater local competitiveness needed to provide a more favourable environment for new businesses, incubation, research and development and global best practices business start-up programs.

Tierney added that the key to overcoming overseas competition emerging from the BRIC nations will be a steady focus on big-picture entrepreneurship that will involve leveraging opportunities in the global market and investing in new technologies and innovations, rather than restricting activity to regional trade and old systems.

Commentary: New ways of doing things in Canada apparently do not come quickly?

"Part of the reason the BRIC nations have seen such an exponential surge in their middle classes is the heightened use by entrepreneurs in those countries of opportunities outside of their comfort zone, and they've been quite successful in doing so," he said. "By mimicking that spirit of ambition, Canadian businesses could stunt the inevitable intrusion into the Canadian market by these new players."

Commentary: I like this quote as it is well said and I would really encourage Canadians and Canadian companies to do more research into the methods of success in any growing global economies as it should be a duty and requirement of Canadian political and business leaders to act on accumulating an economic knowledge of global business structures which refine global best practices and change management with a revolution in Canadian quality improvement never before witnessed in world business practices. It will be painful for fat cats.

The Angus Reid Strategies poll was conducted between August 27 and 28, 2008, and surveyed 1,012 people. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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