By the time you read this, the USA will have chosen its next president in one of the most bitterly contested campaigns in decades. Whoever wins will likely be making some crucial decisions on international trade and particularly on NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. If the status quo of NAFTA changes, it could certainly affect many Canadian printers who offer discounts to their U.S. customers by having their printing done here – and saving about 20% to 25% in the process.
On the positive side, at press time the European Union and Canada finally signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). While it might take a few years, this deal is poised to create jobs and growth. The experts tell us that it will make doing business with Canadian companies easier, remove customs duties, improve access to public contracts, open up new sectors of the Canadian services market, and offer more predictable conditions for investors.
CETA will bring tangible benefits to Canada by eliminating duties worth €400 million for goods originating in the EU. Opening EU markets to Canadian companies also has the potential to keep prices down and provide consumers with more choice. However, imports from Canada must satisfy all EU product rules and regulations. CETA will also mean that European firms will have new advantages when it comes to getting investment projects approved in Canada.
EU firms will also be able to bid to provide goods and services not only at the federal level, but also to Canadian provinces and municipalities – the first non-Canadian firms to be able to do so. There are all kinds of other considerations to sort out, but it looks like globalization is here to stay – like it or not. Moving forward, let’s see if the advantages outweigh the negatives. Lawmakers here and in Europe seem to think so.
Speaking of positive, our lead story this month on opportunities and trends in wide format printing comes to us courtesy of market research leader InfoTrends. It’s an eye-opening look at a sector you might want to investigate as a source of new revenue, if you haven’t already done so.
Finally, I feel so very sad hearing of the death of manroland Sheetfed CEO Michael Mugavero last month at the young age of 63. I recall meeting him several times and he was always engaging, unselfish, knowledgeable and fun to be with. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. He’ll be remembered and missed for a long, long time in this industry.
As always, stay positive and stay focused.