Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Change in Senior Ranks of the CBSA

Effective March 3, 2008, Stephen Rigby, currently Executive Vice-President of the Canada Border Services Agency, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. His place will be taken by Greta Bossenmaier who is currently Vice-President of the Innovation, Science and Technology Branch at the CBSA.

Tracking Value-Added Trade: Examining Global Inputs to Exports

(Statistics Canada)

Canadian industries have sharply lowered their use of imported inputs to produce exports, according to a new study published today in Canadian Economic Observer.

The lower use of imported inputs sheds light on several widely discussed trends. It contradicts fears of a widespread offshoring of domestic production as firms adopt global supply chains.

It also suggests that firms in Canada have ample room to import more inputs as the soaring loonie increases competitive pressures, something they began to do in 2004.

Finally, removing the import content from exports reveals Canada's true exposure to export demand. This is an important piece of knowledge as analysts debate whether other countries can "decouple" from the current slowdown in the US economy. Since 2000, changes in exports have had less of an influence on the course of gross domestic product (GDP).

Comparing gross exports to GDP has always resulted in misleading analysis. Exports are the equivalent of gross sales, while GDP is measured on a value-added basis. Removing the import content of exports puts them on the same value-added basis, revealing the true exposure of GDP to external demand.

This paper shows that 27.9% of GDP came from value-added exports in 2004. This was down from its peak of 31.4% in 2000, and close to its recent low in 1997. It is well below the often-quoted but misleading share of gross exports in GDP, which peaked at 46% in 2000 before settling at about 38% in 2003 and 2004.

With exports to the United States currently accounting for 75% of all Canada's exports, this implies that just over 20% of Canada's output is exposed to the risk from the slowdown in US growth. The share of jobs exposed to exports would be even lower, as exports remain a sector with above-average output-per-worker. Complete press release here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CBSA Message: Provincial Holiday, February 18


Message EDI08-016

The following is information concerning this year’s Provincial Holiday in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan on Monday, February 18, 2008. For all clients, overnight reports will run the evenings of Friday, February 15 and Monday February 18, as usual. Daily notices/statements covering B3 entry data Friday, February 15 will be generated with a statement date of Tuesday, February 19, if the accounting office is in the province of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario or Saskatchewan. In all other provinces, these K84’s will be statement dated Monday, February 18, 2008.

Goods released on Monday, February 18 in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan will be deemed to be released on Tuesday, February 19, 2008. Goods released in all other provinces on February 18 will be deemed to be released on February 18 , 2008. Any late accounting penalties will be waived without the client having to submit an application. This applies to transactions released from February 11, 2008 to February 18, 2008 that were accounted for in the affected provinces.

Should you have any questions concerning late accounting penalties, please contact Bob Ellah at 613-954-7120.

Confidence in the Economy Plummets

(Nanos Research)

The percentage of Canadians who think the economy will get stronger in 2008 has plummeted an astounding 24 points in 90 days (from 49% in November 2007 to 25% as of last week).

On the personal finance side - there has been a marginal decrease in the percentage of Canadians who think they are better off compared to a year ago (drop from 29% to 24%).

With a perceived downturn in the US economy and volatile markets in Canada, Canadians are basically waiting for the bad economic news even though it hasn’t hit them personally at this time.

Shifting perceptions related to economic confidence may explain the appetite the Conservative government currently has for a federal election.

Canadians were also asked [unprompted] what they would like to see the Government of Canada do to help make the Canadian economy stronger. One in three Canadians were either unsure or thought nothing should be done. The top unprompted response was lower taxes (14%) followed by create jobs/encourage job creation (8%) and invest in key industries (5%). The full list with questions has been posted on the Nanos website as part of the release.

For more detailed information on the methodology and the statistical results visit the Nanos website.


Polling was conducted between February 2nd and February 4th, 2008 (Random Telephone Survey of 1,002 Canadians, 18 years of age and older). The aggregate survey results are accurate ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Readers should note that the data was weighted for age to match the latest Canadian census results. Results should be considered representative of the Canadian population. Results may not add up to 100% due to rounding.


Question: Thinking of the upcoming year, do you think the Canadian economy will become stronger, weaker or will there be no change?

The numbers in parenthesis denote the change from the previous Nanos Research Survey completed in November, 2007.

Stronger 25% (-24) Weaker 33% (+13) No change 36% (+11) Unsure 6% (NC)

Question: Thinking of your personal finances, are you better off, worse off or has there been no change over the past year?

The numbers in parenthesis denote the change from the previous Nanos Research Survey completed in November, 2007.

Better off 24% (-5) Worse off 16% (NC) No change 58% (+6) Unsure 2% (-1)

Emerson Announces Legislative Review of Export Development Canada

(Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada)

The Honourable David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, today announced that International Financial Consulting Ltd. has been selected to conduct the 2008 legislative review of the Export Development Act.

The Act requires that the Minister undertake a review of Export Development Canada (EDC) every 10 years in order to provide advice and recommendations to the government and to Parliament on how EDC can best assist Canadian exporters and investors in international commerce.

“EDC plays an important role in supporting Canadian competitiveness in the global marketplace,” said Minister Emerson. “This review provides an opportunity to examine how EDC is evolving, and should continue to evolve, in order to best support Canadian companies that operate internationally.”

International Financial Consulting Ltd. will conduct research and analysis, as well as consult with a broad range of stakeholders, for example, through town hall meetings in major Canadian cities. The final report will be submitted directly to the Minister of International Trade and will inform the Minister’s subsequent advice to the government and to Parliament, expected in the fall of 2008.

International Financial Consulting Ltd. is a leading international consulting firm. Based in Ottawa, the firm specializes in financial services in support of trade, investment and development, with a focus on strategic planning, institutional development and the interface between the public and private financial sectors. The contract for this legislative review was awarded following a competitive bidding process.

For further information on the review, to make a submission, or to participate in the consultations, please visit http://www.EDCReview2008.ca.

ACE e-Manifest Updates

(U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

The following updates (in PDF format) are now available:

QP in-bond to post to PAPS shipment release type, scheduled implementation date February 2, 2008.

Carriers to report arrival and export of I.E.s, I.Ts & T&Es, scheduled implementation date March, 2008.

Conveyance Harmonization, scheduled implementation date February 2, 2008.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

D8-2-8: Samples of Negligible Value


The following is now available on the CBSA Web site: D8-2-8, Samples of Negligible Value (Tariff Item Nos. 9990.00.00 and 9991.00.00)

This memorandum has been entirely revised. Information about tariff item Nos. 9990.00.00, and 9991.00.00, samples of negligible value, value for duty of mutilated samples, and the Samples of Negligible Value Remission Order has been incorporated into the memorandum.

Government of Canada Moving Forward on WTO Special Agricultural Safeguard

(Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today announced the Government of Canada’s intention to proceed with finalizing the operationalization of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Special Agricultural Safeguard for supply-managed goods.

“This is another example of the Government listening to supply-managed groups and delivering real action for them,” said Minister Ritz. “Our decision to finalize the operationalization of the Special Agricultural Safeguard is important, as it will ensure that we can stay in position to support supply management sectors, and keep them strong.”

The WTO Special Agricultural Safeguard allows WTO members to provide stability for sensitive industries by imposing temporary surtaxes in response to sudden over-quota import surges, or unexpected decreases in certain agricultural commodity prices.

Republican Presidential Candidates’ Views on U.S. Trade Policy

The remaining Republican candidates in this year’s presidential campaign have limited their public discussion of their views on U.S. trade policy. However, based on information gathered from press reports, the candidates’ Web sites and a Brookings Institution report, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee generally support free trade but seem willing to limit it or make policy changes to compensate for any possible negative effects it may have on U.S. industries and workers.

Due to his service in the Senate, McCain has the most comprehensive record on trade policy. He supports free trade and open markets and views globalization as an opportunity that the U.S. should capitalize on in several ways. For example, he has voted for trade promotion authority, NAFTA and permanent normal trade relations with China. He also supports the recently negotiated free trade agreements with South Korea, Peru and Colombia. McCain has stated that as president he will “aggressively promote” trade liberalization at the WTO. With respect to China, while others have expressed concern over Beijing’s currency policies, McCain cautions against responding in a way that would trouble the U.S.-China relationship. And although he is a supporter of free trade, McCain also backs particular policies that would assist domestic industries that may be harmed by it. For example, he has supported the expansion of unemployment insurance and training programs as well as the possibility of a wage insurance provision under the Trade Adjustment Assistance legislation.

Huckabee also believes in free trade – his stated support for NAFTA being one example – but he has emphasized that free trade must be “fair trade.” Specifically, he speaks to his concern over free trade’s possible domestic impact, including the movement of jobs and industries overseas. Huckabee has also said that action should be taken to address China’s alleged manipulation of the value of its currency, which he feels is done to artificially lower the prices of Chinese exports. Huckabee would also support tax cuts to assuage the negative effects of globalization, an Inside US Trade article notes, and in fact has stated that he would revamp the U.S. tax structure to better enable the U.S. to compete in a globalized world.

Border Security Dominates DHS Technology Budget Request

(GovExec.com – Jill R. Aitoro)

Roughly half of the Homeland Security Department's $5.4 billion information technology budget will go to ongoing system development and modernization programs for border control and protection.

Cybersecurity funds largely will come from alternative sources, said DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, who described the budget as a whole as “strong and fiscally sound.”

DHS divided spending in its IT budget into four parts: IT investments by mission; IT infrastructure and office automation; enterprise architecture and planning; and grants management. The bulk of IT funds ($3.7 billion) were allocated to investments by mission.

Full story here. Remarks of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff regarding the budget for DHS are here.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Air Shipping: Politicans Ask GAO to Review Air Cargo Screening Requirements

(Logistics Management)

With a keen eye on the steps being taken to ensure the 100 percent screening of air cargo on passenger planes, politicians are asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the 100 percent cargo screening requirement on passenger planes by 2010 as outlined in “H.R. 1 Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007,” which was passed last August and signed into law by President Bush. Read the complete article.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Minister of Finance Announces Two Appointments to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal

(Department of Finance)

The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, has announced the appointment of André F. Scott as Chair of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) and Pasquale Michaele Saroli as a full-time member.

Mr. Scott, currently Vice-President Corporate Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary of Polycor Inc., is a lawyer with 25 years of senior executive and managerial experience in both the public and private sectors. He has an extensive background in arbitration and negotiation.

Mr. Saroli, also a lawyer, has been an employee of the Department of Finance since 1989, and has taken on a number of increasingly senior roles in trade remedies, policy development and negotiations. He has a solid grounding in both administrative and international economic law.

“Both Mr. Scott and Mr. Saroli have extensive international trade experience and will make a valuable contribution to the important work of the CITT,” said Minister Flaherty. “I wish them both well in their new duties.”

U.S. Customs: Are Your Textiles Subject to Quota?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Customs, CBP) has published a web page titled, “Are My Goods Subject to Quota?” under the Textiles and Quota section of the agency’s web site.

Customs noted on the webpage that import quotas control the amount or volume of various commodities that can be imported into the United States during a specified period of time, adding that quotas are established by legislation and Presidential proclamations issued pursuant to specific legislation and provided for in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).

“Absolute quotas strictly limit the quantity of goods that may enter the commerce of the United States for a specific period. Tariff rate quotas permit a specified quantity of imported merchandise to be entered at a reduced rate of duty during the quota period,” Customs stated.

“Once the tariff-rate quota limit is reached, goods may still be entered but at a higher rate of duty. Many free trade agreements and special trade legislation establish tariff preference levels (TPL), which CBP administers like tariff rate quotas.”

Customs stated on the new page that several key factors determine whether a shipment is subject to quota requirements:

• Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification (based on merchandise description)
• Textile category number (also known as a “visa” category)
• HTSUS chapter note (for agricultural products)
• Country of origin (where the goods were grown, produced, or manufactured)

To determine the HTS number (classification) of the goods, Customs recommended the following:

• Contacting an Import Specialist at a CBP port of entry.
• Requesting a binding ruling from the Office of Regulations and Rulings, National Commodity Specialist Division.
• Querying the Customs Rulings On-line Search System (CROSS) for binding rulings previously issued for similar merchandise.
• Reviewing the Harmonized Tariff Schedule

“Determine the textile category number (if applicable),” Customs stated.

“The category is a three-digit number listed in parentheses next to the HTS number. Refer to the Daily Textile Status Report for Absolute Quotas, which lists categories subject to quota and fill status (percentage of the quota that is used) by country. Currently absolute quota and/or visa requirements exist for textiles from China, Vietnam, Russia and Ukraine.”

Customs added that if the country of origin and/or the textile category of the goods is not listed on this report, then the merchandise is not subject to absolute quota or visa requirements.

“Determine whether the merchandise qualifies for preferential treatment under a Free Trade Agreement or other special trade program,” Customs stated. “If the merchandise qualifies for preferential treatment, refer to the Commodity Status Report for Tariff Rate Quotas. This weekly report provides information on imported merchandise subject to Tariff Rate Quotas.”

Customs noted that if the merchandise is subject to quota/visa restrictions, there may be additional information for a particular quota listed on Customs’ website in the form of Quota Book Transmittals (QBTs) or Textile Book Transmittals (TBTs).

The “Are My Goods Subject to Quota?” web page, which provides links to the resources listed, can be accessed on-line here.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism: A Year in Review

(U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and its focus on strengthening supply chain security is an important layer in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) cargo enforcement strategy. Through this initiative, CBP is asking businesses to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate and verify the security guidelines of their business partners within the supply chain.

The partnership, referred to as C-TPAT, has performed more than 6,900 total validations since 2003.

“Our supply chain specialists are traveling throughout the world, working with C-TPAT members to protect international commerce from the risk of terrorist incident,” said C-TPAT Director Bradd Skinner.

C-TPAT accomplishments during calendar year 2007 include:

• Supply chain security specialist visited manufacturing and logistics facilities in 79 countries, representing some of the most terrorist prone and high risk areas of the world.

• C-TPAT validated 3,011 supply chains, representing a 27 percent increase from 2006. Of the 3,011 validations conducted, 601 or 20 percent were revalidations. This was the first year that C-TPAT began re-verifying supply chains.

• C-TPAT certified 2,601 new members in accordance with SAFE Port Act requirements.

• C-TPAT Tier III status was granted to 17 companies as a result of the validation process.

• C-TPAT suspended or removed 112 companies from the program for security breeches or failure to meet C-TPAT’s minimum security criteria as revealed in the validation process. Of the 112 companies, 47 were either conditionally or fully reinstated in the C-TPAT program after they demonstrated to CBP’s satisfaction that immediate and sustained corrective action had been taken.

Supply chain security specialists conducted on-site visits to review the security practices of those members that were involved in a security breech. Without exception no additional security breeches occurred once these companies were reinstated.

• C-TPAT made progress on additional SAFE Port Act mandates including the development of a 3rd Party Validation pilot program.

• To enhance the supply chain security processes and procedures of its members, minimum-security criteria were issued for Mexican long haul carriers, U.S. and foreign-based marine port authority and terminal operators, foreign manufacturers and air carriers. These criteria were developed in close consultation with the trade community and other US agencies where appropriate.

• C-TPAT signed a mutual recognition agreement with New Zealand’s Customs Service and established work plans with several other countries to achieve similar arrangements.

• With respect to outreach, C-TPAT conducted enrollment seminars along the southwest border, in Mexico City and during its annual trade conference. Additionally, C-TPAT participated in more than 100 conferences and seminars throughout the world.

The University of Virginia conducted a survey on behalf of CBP to determine member’s perceptions regarding the cost, benefits and motivations to join the program. The results demonstrated that C-TPAT has moved thousands of companies to provide closer scrutiny to the security of the goods they handle and to ensure that their overseas suppliers have implemented sound security practices. C-TPAT will undertake future studies of this sort to assess its effectiveness.

“When you consider what C-TPAT accomplished in 2007, you can see that we are producing solid results” said Skinner. “We met the SAFE Port Act’s certification and validation requirements and that is a key metric for us. We are holding members accountable to meet their commitments to the program but doing so in the spirit of collaboration.”

Learn About Best Practices for Importing Safe Food Products from China and Emerging Markets

I.E.Canada, along with its Food Committee, is inviting members of the food industry to attend I.E.Canada’s 3rd Annual Food Forum. The Food Forum is Canada’s premier event for members of the government and industry to share knowledge and exchange information. Building on the success of previous years, this event will offer opportunities for education, knowledge sharing, and networking.

Food safety compliance will be to focus of this year’s Forum. Import product safety has become one of the priorities for governments and businesses world wide. The need for systems that both ensure the integrity of Canada’s food supply and protect consumers from any mishaps that could occur has come into sharp focus. Ensuring that our processes ensure imported foods are safe is critical to maintaining Canadian consumer confidence in our food industries.

One of the key sessions is “Practices for Importing Safe Products from China and Emerging Markets”, a panel discussion with:

Christine Lowry, Vice President, Nutrition and Corporate Affairs, Kellogg Canada Inc. (invited), Mark FeDuke, Traffic Manager, VLM Food Trading International Inc., John Kukoly, Product Manager, Food Safety and Organic Certification, QMI

When: Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Where: Hilton Toronto Airport, 5875 Airport Road, Mississauga, Ontario

Registration information is available here. For further information on the conference, please call Jason at 416-595-5333 ext 37

It’s the Border, Stupid

Extract of a speech by Liberal Deputy Leader Michael Ignatieff last week at the University of Alberta

I want to start with Canada/US relations because it’s so much the centre of any foreign policy. I want to talk to you about security, economic issues, military issues, diplomatic issues and finally some political issues.

Let me start with the US/Canada relationship. I had a funny thing happen to me in politics. I sat down with a very wealthy Canadian who shall remain nameless (you can probably guess who he might have been). I said to him, “sir,” in my earnest way, “what is the biggest issue you confront as a billionaire businessman?”

He looked at me in the way that businessmen sometimes do to politicians, like “where do I start with this guy?”, with this look in his eyes and said, “It’s the border, stupid.”

He has businesses that cross the border. Maintaining a strong border, defending our border, investing in the capabilities to defend our border, equally to defending our sovereignty.

We have to enhance our border infrastructure. You can’t go to Windsor, you can’t go to many of our border crossings without being concerned that the border’s going to become a choke chain.

We don’t want a choke chain.

We’re just to be proud of having the longest undefended border in the world. It’s become stickier, and stickier and stickier since 9/11. But the thing we have to do is be a competent, capable, credible security partner with the United States while maintaining an absolute control over our sovereignty and our border. That’s a very, very difficult trick and important that we have to get right.

But our border is not just on the 49th. We now have an enormous sense of the salience of the arctic frontier. Our arctic border, and the immense importance of protecting and investing in our sovereignty as climate change literally changes the geographical dimensions of our country.

I’m a strong defender of investment in sovereignty and our border. But I’ll make another point: we have to invest in international law here. There is a lot that is unclear and obscure in who owns what and who does what there. You can’t fix this stuff just with icebreakers and overflights and patrols, although they’re enhancements I support. You have to sit down with our partners and work out a stable long-term legal framework for the development of the north for those who live there and for developing those resources. The last thing we want is a sovereignty complex up there.

I want you all to go out and study arctic law, the law of the sea, and who owns the undershelf stuff and all of that. That’s a challenge for you. Someone needs to become Canada’s expert on arctic international law.

It’s crucial to our future as a country. So those are a few thoughts about our security relationship across the border with the United States.

Let me say a little bit about our economic relations.

One of the things that I see happening is that NAFTA has been very good for our country. But I see it creating an Atlantic Canadian economy, a central Canadian economy and a western economy.

One of the questions we’ve not been asking, I think, as clearly as we should, is whether we’re still maintaining a national economy, from coast to coast to coast.

The north-south linkages in our economic system, I think, are now stronger than our east-west ones. When I was in Edmonton recently someone showed me a map of the pipelines and the natural gas pipelines. Much stronger north-south than east-west. No problem with north-south, that’s our chief market.

My concern is to strengthen the east-west spine of our country. Energy cooridors. Pipelines. The national economic space is not as unified as it should be. BC and Alberta have set a good model for the rest of the country by sitting down and working to reduce the friction in the labour markets between Alberta and British Columbia. This is good.

We need federal leadership to strengthen the ties that bind. What’s what the federal government of Canada for? It’s to maintain common economic space and common citizenship.

The north-south pull fostered by the post-NAFTA world is great, provided that we don’t splinter and fragment into increasingly separate economic spaces. That, it seems to me, to be the challenge that is at the center of Canadian economic policy.

It’s also one of the biggest puzzles in our relationship with the Americans. I’m not an economist. What is the nature of the linkage between our economy and theirs?

In the old days we used to say “they get a cold, we get pneumonia.” Right now, they’ve got a cold. They’ve got a nice, big bronchial infection right now.

And nobody rejoices over their unhappiness, least of all me. One of the themes of our economy, we’re unclear about that. We need to have much better economic analysis right now, but all I know that we can do is keep our fiscal fundamentals sound.

Sound fiscal discipline. No deficits. Management of our economy. Those fundamentals are thing we can do do maintain our economic sovereignty.

But the other thing we have to do in this context is understand the tremendous importance of investing in you. The future of our country is in this room. We have to bet the store in investing in training in education in science and technology. If we continue to be an economy based on hewers of wood and drawers of water, exporters of untreated natural resources, increasingly integrated into the American economy, I don’t like what I see for you in 25-30 years, because I don’t think our economy the gets the value out of the high-end of the economy. We get the untreated, raw end of the economy, not the high-value end.

So invest, invest, invest and invest in what? Invest in you.

The other thing I feel very strongly about and I know we’ve been saying it for 30 years: diversify, diversify, diversify. 86% of our economy is integrated with the Americans. That’s a good thing. It’s natural. It’s the market, it’s close. We’re the largest investor in the United States by a considerable margin.

But I would hope in the next generation, it’s China, it’s India. We start putting our eggs in a bunch of baskets. My instinct tells me that builds a stronger and safer economic foundation for your future.

Exporters More Brave than Resilient

(Stephen Poloz — Export Development Canada)

Canada’s exporters were hit with the perfect storm in 2007. Yet the value of exports rose by more than 2% during the year, suggesting an unexpected degree of exporter resilience. EDC’s latest exporter survey shows, however, that exporter confidence wilted in the final weeks of the year.

EDC’s survey of 1,000 exporting companies shows that expectations have deteriorated markedly in the past six months. The Trade Confidence Index fell from 72.9 to 67.4, which is even lower than in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 2001. The number of companies expecting export sales to decrease rose from 12% to 25%. Some 38% of companies expect trade opportunities to decline (up from 22%), and 30% expect global economic conditions to deteriorate (up from 20%).

The drop in confidence is across the board, touching all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country. The drop occurred regardless of the age of the company, and regardless of size. In fact, the older the firm, and the larger, the more pessimistic it is, according to the survey.

The rise of the Canadian dollar to well above U.S. dollar parity in the weeks just before the survey clearly played a big role in this outcome. Some respondents expressed disbelief that the dollar could remain so strong, but 41% were still expecting the dollar to appreciate further. Although this was down from 52% six months earlier, only 23% were forecasting that the dollar would decline – up from 17% six months earlier, but still a small number.

Nor is the domestic economy offering much solace. The survey recorded very large drops in expectations for domestic economic conditions and domestic sales. Hiring intentions also moderated, although still only 11% of surveyed companies expect to actually cut staff.

There are some positive aspects to the report. First, although there was a large drop in confidence, it was still much smaller than the drop that occurred during the winter of 2000-01, when the global economy was flirting with recession. Second, although 25% of surveyed companies expect export sales to decline, 75% expect sales to rise or remain the same – down from 89%, but still a healthy level. Third, exporters perceive increased risk but almost entirely in the U.S. economy. Risk perceptions declined for Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

EDC’s latest forecast for exports is broadly in line with exporter sentiment. An outright decline in both export volumes and export values is forecast for 2008, even if the U.S. economy skirts recession. Nevertheless, we expect solid growth in exports to emerging markets, which will moderate in the face of the U.S. slowdown but retain good momentum. Export strength will be seen in the agri-food, fertilizer, farm machinery, aerospace and other equipment sectors.

The bottom line? According to our models, exports should have been much weaker in 2007. What the additional colour from our survey suggests is that exports held up not because exporters were resilient, but because they were brave, choosing to protect their foreign customers from price increases. And, the outlook is for an even more challenging year in 2008.