Monday, October 1, 2007

EDC: A Unique Canadian Approach for Growing Trade

(Export Development Canada)

Speech to the Conseil des Relations Internationales de Montreal (CORIM)
Eric Siegel, President and CEOExport Development Canada

Today unprecedented levels of globalization are steering more and even faster change. I get to witness it from the greatest vantage point yet – the Presidency of EDC. I was greatly honoured when the Government entrusted me with the stewardship of EDC last January. It comes with great responsibility to directly contribute to Canada’s competitiveness and success abroad. It also comes with an incredible opportunity to call attention to what we have at stake in Canada’s trade: the incredible opportunities within our reach, and the terrible costs should they fall from our grasp. It is in that spirit that I make my remarks today.

One of the greatest changes I have seen has been the evolution and growth of EDC itself. I take great pride in my own contribution to that, especially in managing change and restructuring to better meet client needs. That contribution is only one among many others, past and present, both at EDC and elsewhere in Government, that have helped us grow our mandate, build our capabilities and make us the force in trade finance we are today.

Let me recap briefly last year’s performance:

• In 2006, we worked with 6,805 customers completing $66.1 billion in exports and investments in 184 markets around the world.

• Almost one quarter of that business was in emerging markets – markets where Canadian business knows they have to be for future growth but where the risks are also higher.

• We worked with many small and medium sized businesses, 5,800 in all, on business valued at $15 billion.

• We also worked with most of Canada’s largest and most recognizable firms and we are proud of it. Growing Canada’s trade means growing Canada’s brand, and growing businesses that are recognized throughout the world.

• Finally, we had a net income of $1.2 billion – a balance sheet that we can put to work for Canadian business to take on greater risks in sectors and markets that are vital to growth. I will return to that point a little later in this speech.

It is an impressive list of results, now part of impressive cumulative results. The Government of Canada made a total investment of $983 million in equity since EDC was created. In that time our cumulative business volume has been $629 billion.

Read the complete text of the speech here.