A growing number of Canadian exporters were saying the NAFTA talks were having a negative impact on their operations even before the trade dispute with the United States escalated in recent weeks.

A survey done for Export Development Canada found 28% of the 1,000 exporters asked said the NAFTA talks had a negative impact on their Canadian operations. That was up from 23% in an earlier survey.

However, the bi-annual survey found overall trade confidence increased to 76.5% from 73.5% in the previous questionnaire.

The survey was done from April 18 to May 11, before the United States ended an exemption for Canada on the global steel and aluminium tariffs it had put in place in March.

Since the tariffs went into place on Canadian metal exports at the end of May, Canada has imposed retaliatory tariffs on steel and aluminium coming from the U.S. as well as a wide range of consumer goods, while the U.S. has threatened additional tariffs on the auto sector.


Additional findings

Despite the impact of trade talks, the poll finds more than half of exporters surveyed (61%) believe domestic sales will increase, up from 41% at the end of 2017, and even more (73%) say export sales will rise, up from 56%.

Further, the EDC says more companies are looking to hire in the next six months (50%, up from 37%) even though one-third concede skilled labour is hard to find (33%, up from 30%).

Only 21% of those surveyed say the world economy will improve, though that is up from 19%.

The top reasons for the boost in exporters’ confidence are new customers, increased activity and growth trends in emerging economies and the U.S.

Read the full results.

Also read: 

The story behind emerging market outflows

Why aren’t Americans benefiting from robust U.S. economy?

Effects for clients as interest rates rise (in Canada)

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