Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:50 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Canadian manufacturers’ head advises T&T businesses: Go after larger markets
T&T businesses need larger markets to be competitive and succeed, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Canada’s largest industry and trade association said. Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters President and CEO Dr Jayson Mayers, an economist, told his T&T counterparts: “Going back about 20-25 years ago when we were negotiating our (North American) Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with the United States, many companies were very concerned about how they could compete in that market. “Canada is a small economy. For a huge country, we’re actually divided up, as you know, into regional markets. We’ve got a fairly small population compared to the United States, and here we were going into a free trade agreement with the United States, and we signed that free trade agreement in 1989.
“Between 1990 and 2002, manufacturing more than doubled. We couldn’t have done that without the free trade agreement. The reason was you need a large market if you’re going to specialise. You need a large market if you’re going to succeed and take advantage of opportunities. You need a large market to achieve the economies of scale that are going to make you competitive. “Now, along the way, was also the fact that the Canadian dollar had also fallen in value against the US dollar. The Canadian dollar must have gone from about 89 cents to 62 cents.” Mayers told local manufacturers: “You need to be able to take the resources—all of the talented people we have—and use the value that they create, and create sustainable wealth and that’s the role of manufacturing.”
He said manufacturers today compete in a global market with China and other big countries that can outcompete locals on price and volume. He also gave local manufacturers advice on “what makes a business succeed.” “A lot of it has to do with the investments a company makes. The companies that succeeded are growing rapidly right now. It’s the business strategy, the leadership, the ability of a company to think in terms of—especially manufacturers—that your business is not getting product out the door,” he said. Mayers said manufacturers need to see their business as providing solutions that customers need. He gave an anecdote about one manufacturer who, when describing what he did, never mentioned his product, but spoke only about meeting customers’ needs. “You can’t compete on product and price alone. You have to compete on quality and innovation,” he said.
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