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The internet and the digitization of products and processes have opened many new trading possibilities for Canadian businesses and their global counterparts. For instance, trade in virtual markets means that companies are spending real money on virtual goods, services can be offered to clients anywhere in the world and content can be consumed on new platforms. Most of all, it means Canadian businesses have to keep up in a constantly changing environment.

 

Participants at our recent International Trade Day: Trading at the Speed of Light conference heard from renowned experts:

  • James Baxter of iPoltics;
  • Ray Boisvert of H+K Strategies;
  • Francis Castonguay of Deloitte;
  • Eli Fathi of MindBridge Analytics Inc.;
  • Dan Herman of the DEEP Centre;
  • Eme Onuoha of Xerox Canada;
  • Chris Donnelly of Manulife;
  • Ken Taylor of the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance; and
  • Nolan Wiebe of Global Affairs Canada

 

on how to tackle these challenges. Everyone agrees: in this changing landscape, Canadian businesses are poised to win, if they make the right moves.

In order to do that, business leaders have to think outside the box. That might mean going global before going local, said Deanna Horton of the Munk School of Global Affairs. Companies that sell online without the added overhead of a physical store may be more successful than their traditional counterparts.

Cyber security is also a big concern. Canadian businesses have to know how to properly communicate threats to their clients and help shield them from cyber attacks, but also help them make the right decisions when something happens. The CEO of RedSeal and famed venture capitalist, Ray Rothrock, explained that most digital threats can’t be prevented—but they can be countered.

Finally, Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland shared some exciting news with conference participants: she is in discussions with two global companies that are interested in bringing their research and development centres to Canada. She also explained that trade deals such as CETA and TPP contain provisions on digital trade, helping navigate a new and exciting reality for Canadian businesses.

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