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Trade, Productivity & Competitiveness

BC’s ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world economy will depend on how well we can find new ways of doing business, adopt new ideas and practices, and connect with new trading partners. The Council encourages public policies that support research and innovation, business practices that increase productivity, connections that open new trading opportunities, and processes to commercialize BC’s best research.

Presentation: Competitive Landscape of BC's Natural Resource Sectors

Check out Jock Finlayson's presentation to the 2018 BC Natural Resources Forum on the economic contributions of resources to BC's economy - and the risks to the sectors' competitiveness.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op Ed: U.S. tax reforms set to remake competitive landscape for Canada (Business in Vancouver)

As finance ministers across Canada start putting the finishing touches on their 2018 budgets, they are sure to be casting a nervous glance to the south. In late December, the U.S. Congress approved – and President Donald Trump signed – a package of tax reforms and rate reductions that amounts to the biggest overhaul of America’s tax system in four decades. The changes are numerous and complex. For policy-makers and business leaders in Canada, the new reality of U.S. taxation heralds a significant shift in the competitive landscape.

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Three economic predictions for 2018

What does 2018 have in store on the economic front? We offer these three predictions.

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BCBC in 2017: Advancing Ideas and Actions....

In the final days of 2017, we’ve taken a moment to review the 119 publications, submissions to government, opinion editorials and blogs produced by the team at the Business Council of British Columbia. In addition to highlighting our major works, we’ve put together a compilation which revisits the most popular pieces and provides an overview of the range of issues that have garnered attention this year. 

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Cloud of NAFTA uncertainty looms over B.C. horizon (Business in Vancouver)

The coming year promises to be an eventful one for the B.C. business community. While our economy continues to grow at a decent pace, business leaders need to brace themselves for the bumpy road that lies ahead. 

Perhaps the biggest unknown concerns the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – and what happens in Canada’s relationship with our principal ally and trading partner, now under the erratic stewardship of President Donald Trump.

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D'Avignon & Finlayson Op-Ed: The CPTPP represents significant opportunity for the Canadian economy (Vancouver Sun)

BCBC reminds the Prime Minister to not lose sight of a more imminent opportunity: completion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), previously known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Participating in the CPTPP would expand Canada’s existing network of trade and investment agreements, support efforts to diversify our trade, and allow Canadian businesses and workers to secure improved access to growing foreign markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

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BCBC Statement on Provincial Government Decision to Complete Site C

We wish to recognize Premier Horgan and his cabinet colleagues for their decision today to proceed with the completion of the Site C dam. Once operational, this generational asset will provide clean, firm power within a basket of renewable assets that will support our province’s growing low-carbon commodity and energy exports in a world hungry for what BC produces. This is the right decision for British Columbia and Canada’s energy and climate future.

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Finlayson & Mullen Op-Ed: Fossil fuels remain key to energy future, according to report (Troy Media)

The International Energy Agency’s Annual World Energy Outlook 2017 was released in early November.  It provides a useful update on the shift to a lower carbon global energy system. The stepped-up deployment of clean energy technologies and moves towards electrification continue in many nations.  At the same time, rising investment in energy efficiency is lessening the need for supply additions.  However, fossil fuels still represent the bulk of global energy production and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: How government can help build bigger businesses in B.C. (Business in Vancouver)

To build a more prosperous economy, new businesses have to be created and some existing firms must grow. The business world is characterized by a high degree of “churn,” with many new entrants together with lots of exits and diverse patterns of expansion and contraction among the pool of surviving companies. Many new firms don’t have a long shelf life. About half close their doors within five years. Of those that hit the five-year mark, most never reach the 50-employee level.

But those that do grow swiftly tend to make disproportionate contributions to our economy. This is partly because as businesses expand, they become more productive – and therefore, on average, pay higher wages. In addition, as firms grow, they are more likely to export and to take advantage of the economies of scale that come from doing business beyond local markets.

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Dear Premier Horgan: Let's Build Site C

Having considered the evidence, including the BC Utilities Commission’s (BCUC) recent report, our reputational risk and the anticipated significant electricity demand as we accelerate into the digital age and low carbon economy, we offer our support for completing the project, for several reasons – some of which are also referenced in a recent submission from the BC Building Trades unions.

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Dear Prime Minister:

The TPP is more important than ever

A letter to Prime Minister Trudeau urging his government to conclude the negotiations on the TPP and implement the agreement as quickly as possible.

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Finlayson & Mullen Op-Ed: True or False: Canada is Falling Behind on Greenhouse Gas Emissions? (Vancouver Sun)

The latest international climate change meeting is underway in Bonn, Germany. There is the usual concern about insufficient progress in tackling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and finger pointing at countries seen as not doing their part. Some of this criticism is warranted. In certain quarters, Canada is once again chastised for being a laggard: not doing enough, fast enough, while the United States, which has withdrawn from the Paris Accord, is taking credit for big reductions in emissions.   

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From Good to Great: The Benefits of Scaling Up BC Business

To build a more prosperous and innovative economy, new businesses have to be created and some existing firms must grow.

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BCBC STATEMENT on the Government of Canada's Fall Economic Update
Business Council of BC Urges Stronger Action to Tame the Federal Deficit and Improve Canada’s Competitiveness

The Business Council of British Columbia offered the following comments on today’s Economic and Fiscal Update presented in the House of Commons by Finance Minister William Morneau.

“We welcome news that the federal government’s budget deficit is shrinking more quickly than expected, mainly thanks to stronger economic growth so far in 2017,” stated Greg D’Avignon, the Business Council’s President and CEO.  “Having said that, with the Canadian economy operating close to capacity, we believe the government should be aiming to achieve a balanced operating budget sooner than they are currently projecting.”

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: B.C.-Alberta economic links tightest among Canadian provinces (Business in Vancouver)

Canada is a federation made up of provinces and territories with a significant amount of subnational autonomy. The provinces are responsible for delivering health care and education and have jurisdiction over employment standards and occupational regulations governing the labour market. Control of Crown land and regulating the operations of resource industries are also under provincial jurisdiction. Although independent, the provinces co-operate and are integrated and interdependent with each other in an economic sense. The two westernmost provinces, B.C. and Alberta, have especially strong economic connections and exhibit a high degree of economic interdependence.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Financing NDP’s agenda will be a major challenge for taxpayers (Business in Vancouver)

p>The $52 billion “mini-budget” presented by Finance Minister Carole James on September 11 signals a shift in the priorities of the provincial government after 16 years of generally tight-fisted rule by the BC Liberals. For the finance minister and her BC NDP colleagues, it is time to boost expenditures on social services, education and affordable housing – while still keeping the operating budget in surplus. Skinny surpluses in the range of $250 million are projected for each of the next three years, on the heels of the $2.7 billion torrent of black ink posted in 2016-17.

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Ties That Bind: Economic Ties Between BC and Alberta

BC and Alberta have especially strong economic connections and exhibit a high degree of economic interdependence.

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New partnerships advance the Cascadia Innovation Corridor
New cross-border initiatives to connect Washington state and British Columbia

Leaders from Washington state and British Columbia today announced a suite of new initiatives focused on improving connectivity, strengthening innovation and generating economic opportunity.

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Advice to the New BC Government: Tread Carefully on Business Taxes

As appealing as it may be to advocate higher taxes on companies and entrepreneurs, there are some risks in following this path.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Digesting hard truths about Canada’s subpar trade performance (Business in Vancouver)

Canada is a mid-sized economy, responsible for less than 2% of global output. Closer to home, we represent about 8% of all economic activity across the United States, Canada and Mexico combined.

Canada is also an open economy that depends heavily on cross-border flows of trade, investment and knowledge to underpin our high standard of living. To pay our way in the world and generate the income necessary to buy imports, Canada must sell commodities, manufactured goods and services to customers in other markets.

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