The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Ontario exports set to expand as U.S. demand ramps up, says EDC

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LONDON, Ont. - Ontario's international exports are expected to grow by six per cent this year and seven per cent next year, according to a new forecast by Export Development Canada (EDC).

The Crown agency pins the forecast on an accelerating recovery in the U.S. and higher demand from American customers.

The forecast says a lower Canadian dollar will also provide opportunities for price competition and increased profits.

The EDC says about 78 per cent of Ontario's 18,681 exporters sell into the United States. The total share of Ontario's exports to emerging markets grew to seven per cent in 2013 from five per cent in 2009.

The forecast says shipments of metal ores and international sales of industrial machinery will be the main drivers of export growth in Ontario through 2015.

In addition, says EDC chief economist Peter Hall, "the agri-food sector is a real sleeper story" and long-term growth prospects in this sector are very strong.

"A positive about-face is expected this year, as global businesses get back into investment mode. The weaker Canadian dollar will help to kick-start export growth."

Hall says auto exports will not be as impressive in spite of soaring U.S. sales. He says Ontario shipments of vehicles and parts will be limited by tight capacity and any boost to exports will likely take root only after 2016.

EDC is Canada's export credit agency for Canadian companies trying to compete internationally.

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