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TheStreet Open House

Canada's Priority: The Urgent Case For Pursuing Global Markets

Scotiabank's Rick Waugh gives keynote speech at Toronto Region Board of Trade dinner

TORONTO, Jan. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Scotiabank CEO Rick Waugh addressed the 125 th annual Toronto Region Board of Trade dinner saying that Canada has the ability reach great heights in the coming century by working together, to improve productivity through innovation, efficiency and economies of scale.

"Taking our products and services to high growth emerging markets can help us reach each of these goals," said Rick Waugh during his address. "We need to understand that a global shift is well underway. Our traditional trading partners in the developed world are facing prolonged slow growth and serious structural issues that are likely to hinder them for many years."

Mr. Waugh outlines in his speech that Canada is in the stronger position right now, and we can take advantage of it if we adopt a true sense of urgency.

"To be successful, we can't continue with business as usual.  It's going to require a new collective mindset and new priorities and exceptional effort."

Mr. Waugh laid out a number of Canada's strengths including a strong and stable fiscal and monetary position in absolute terms and relative to many other developed countries.  "We're among a select few safe havens for investors, and because of that we are able to attract capital far easier than many of our competitors."  He went on to say that our government is rightly focused "on expanding trade to external markets and encouraging two-way investment to grow our economy."

Canada has great potential to succeed in world where there will continue to be great demand for our strengths.  "Not only commodities and energy, but our leading expertise in banking, insurance, accounting, legal services, aerospace, technology, including expertise in the digital world," said Mr. Waugh.  "We have a highly skilled, diverse and multicultural workforce with global connections to attract even more of the right people we need to succeed in the 21 st century economy."

One of Canada's significant advantages is that it sets the standard for satisfying all the requirements of a healthy financial system - safety, trust and profitability and "[Scotiabank is] routinely ranked among the safest banks in the world."

But Canada now must confront our challenges. "Our historical near-total reliance on the U.S. may have been enough in the last century, but it hasn't prepared many of us for the next century," he adds. "We need to understand that we have tremendous strengths as a country - strengths that have great value in the current global marketplace. But to unlock that value, we've got to be in the global marketplace."

The solution to this, Mr. Waugh explained is for Canada to start developing new markets for our products and services in high growth emerging markets.

"It's more than just a call for action - it's making it a top Canadian priority," concluded Mr. Waugh. "We need to nurture and grow important economic clusters where we can build a competitive advantage to take on the global marketplace - no matter the level of our currency."

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