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Canada Firms Must Seek New Export Markets, RBC’s Nixon Says

Canadian companies must “aggressively pursue” new export markets to keep the country from falling behind other nations, said Gordon Nixon, chief executive officer of Royal Bank of Canada.

“When it comes to going global, our businesses are falling behind other industrialized nations,” Nixon, 56, said today at the bank’s annual investor meeting in Calgary. “Our trade patterns have barely changed since Confederation, and if we are to achieve above average growth, we must increase overall export activity with parts of the world that are actually growing.”

Nixon, head of Canada’s largest lender by assets, said Canada must expand trade by moving beyond resources, taking a “strategic approach” in areas such as agriculture, advanced manufacturing, healthcare and technology. He also said Canadian companies must improve productivity.

“Canadian companies must rev up their commitment and find better ways to translate research and ideas into viable commercial successes,” Nixon said.

Royal Bank earlier today reported first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates on record earnings from consumer lending and wealth management, and gains in investment banking. Net income for the period ended Jan. 31 rose 12 percent to C$2.07 billion ($2.02 billion) from a year earlier.

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