Most Canadians view Asia’s growing economic strength as an opportunity for Canada, survey finds

Six in 10 Canadians see Asia’s growing middle class as an opportunity for Canada, but fewer than half feel that Canadian firms are well-prepared to compete against their Asian rivals, a new Ipsos Reid poll reveals.

Overall, the poll found that Canadians are divided about the implications of Asia’s growing economic power and concerned about the impact on certain industry sectors. For example, 59 per cent of respondents agreed that Canada should be more open to foreign investment, but 76 percent said they are worried that increased foreign investment could cause Canada to lose control of its natural resources.

Ipsos Reid conducted the online survey for the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) in advance of a conference being held today and tomorrow in Ottawa on Asia’s rise and the impact on Canada’s economic future. Titled “Canada in the Pacific Century,” the conference brings together more than 200 CEOs, senior government officials, educators, policy experts, representatives of aboriginal communities and other thought leaders from across Canadian society.

Overall, 60 percent of those polled agreed with the statement that “Asia’s growing middle class population represents an opportunity for the Canadian economy”. In contrast, 40 percent agreed that “Asia’s growing economic strength represents a threat to the Canadian economy”.

On a sector-by-sector basis, 74 percent agreed that Canada’s banks and financial sector will benefit from better access to Asian markets.  Seventy-one percent said that Canada’s energy and resources sector will benefit from better access to Asia, while 68 per cent felt that way about Canada’s manufacturing sector.

At the same time, 88 per cent agreed it is important that Canada find new markets beyond the United States for its energy and resource exports. And 74 percent said that if Canada does not get more access to Asian markets, it should limit the amount of Asian investment in Canada.

For survey methodology and detailed findings, please see www.ipsos.ca.

The CCCE is the senior voice of Canada’s business community, representing 150 chief executives and leading entrepreneurs in all sectors and regions of the country. Its members lead companies that collectively administer $4.5 trillion in assets, employ more than 1.4 million men and women and are responsible for most of Canada’s private-sector exports, investment and training.

For more information about this week’s conference, visit www.PacificCentury.ca