Canada China Business Survey 2016 – Report

The Canada China Business Council in partnership with the Rotman Institute for International Business is pleased to announce the report launch of the Canada China Business Survey 2016 – Report.

The survey covered a broad cross section of Canadian companies doing or considering doing business in China, as well as Chinese companies doing or considering doing business in Canada. The survey was conducted during the latter half of 2016, and the results are compared to survey results from 2014 and earlier. 205 responses were received. The report provides analysis and perspective of the survey responses as well as recommendations. This is the first year that Chinese companies were included in the survey, and while the sample size is small, the results help us see the perspective from both sides.

This is a pivotal moment in Canada-China economic relations. Following two successful official visits by leaders in 2016, Canada is trying to figure out its relationship with China. A potential free trade agreement (FTA) is in the wings, with China keen to negotiate and Canada undergoing consultations to decide if it should proceed. Because an FTA is an economic agreement, the voice of the business community on both sides is important to understanding where opportunities and challenges for deeper economic engagement lie.

This survey is unique. It gives insight from those on the ground — not just from Canadians but from Chinese companies — those who know the landscape from their own personal experiences. We should be listening to them.

What is most surprising about the survey results is that, notwithstanding the negative stories we hear in the press, those companies actually doing business show an optimism and eagerness to continue to grow this relationship. They are succeeding, they see additional opportunity, and they are investing their time and resources to grow and expand. This applies equally to Chinese-owned companies operating in Canada as it does to Canadian-owned businesses in China.

The landscape is not all rosy. Many challenges exist, and the goal of this biannual survey is to identify which challenges dominate and track longitudinally how those challenges are evolving. But the overall optimism reinforces the notion that the survey results should serve as a call to action rather than a justification for disengagement. These companies are not disengaging.