Small and medium-sized enterprises
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up the vast majority of Canadian businesses and employ nearly 10.5 million Canadians, about 90 percent of the private sector labour force. In 2017, 81% of exporting firms in Canada exported goods to the United States. Of those exporting firms 97% were small and medium-sized businesses, which together accounted for $149.5 billion in exports. In 2017, 4.6% of exporting firms in Canada exported to Mexico. Small and medium-sized firms accounted for just over 80% of all businesses exporting to Mexico from Canada, and accounted for a total value of $2.3 billion in exports.
The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) will support Canadian businesses and SMEs by providing continued access to the markets of the United States and Mexico, as well as updating the rules of trade within North America. It will make it easier for Canadian SMEs in a wide range of sectors to do business in the North American market, including through streamlined customs and origin procedures and greater transparency in government regulations.
CUSMA will also include a new chapter on SMEs which is designed to complement commitments undertaken throughout the agreement, notably by fostering cooperation amongst the Parties to increase trade and investment opportunities for SMEs, and ensuring information is available to SMEs on the obligations and functioning of the Agreement.
Technical summary of negotiated outcomes: Small and medium-sized enterprises chapter
- Promotes increased trade and investment opportunities for SMEs, including through cooperation on support initiatives, joint activities to promote SMEs owned by under-represented groups, and the exchange of information and best practices.
- Recognizes indigenous peoples, women, youth and minorities as groups who may benefit from strengthened collaboration on SME promotion activities designed to increase participation in international trade.
- Includes requirements to make information available that is specifically tailored for SMEs’ use, including information on entrepreneurship education programs for youth and under-represented groups, and information on obligations in the Agreement that are particularly relevant to SMEs - an issue previously identified by Canadian SMEs as a challenge to leveraging the opportunities created by FTAs.
- Establishes a Committee on SME issues and an annual trilateral SME dialogue, which includes private sector stakeholders, to discuss issues of the agreement that are relevant to SMEs.
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