Canada Inc. is missing the India opportunity


William Polushin is founding director of the Program for International Competitiveness at the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, and President of AMAXIS, an international business and operational development services firm. The Competing to Win blog series can be found here.

A good friend of mine from Edmonton (thank you, Colin) sent me an e-mail a couple of days ago with the following quotation at the end of his message:

Dear Optimist, Pessimist and Realist. While you were arguing about the glass of water . . . I drank it.

Signed, 'The Opportunist'

As we venture into a new year of business opportunities and challenges around the world, I couldn't think of a better way of describing the mindset that is required by Canadian entrepreneurs, managers, employees and policy makers if we are to effectively make the transition from a trading nation to nation of traders. The quasi-optimistic, often unrealistic, and overly cautious approach that I have found characterizes too much of Canada Inc.'s approach to markets not called the United States is not a winning strategy in the global economy.

As I wrap up my latest trip to India, two things stand out in my mind.

1. Despite its economic, political and social challenges, India is still attracting considerable attention from 'opportunists' around the world.

Here is a sampling of the headlines from the business section of the Telegraph (Calcutta) and The Times of India (New Delhi) over the past three weeks:

"India key element in Ford's global strategy"

"Daimler trucks to hit the road this year"

"LG to up investment by 20%"

"Rail turns to Japan for speed"

"Mitsubishi shipbuilding tech for L&T"

"Abu Dhabi sovereign fund eyes India"

Without a doubt, U.S. Inc., EU Inc., Korea Inc., Japan Inc., the Middle East Inc. . . . are alive and well in India.

2. While Canada is making progress on the trade front with India, Canada Inc. is still in the minor leagues in its dealings with the country.

Read full article: The Globe and Mail, January 6, 2012