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The federal election provides a clear moment for Canadian businesses to take stock of how the country's re-engagement with the Americas has fared four years on.

Yet while trade and investment have figured prominently in what is called Canada's Americas Strategy, which saw the government inking free trade deals, opening trade offices and supporting democratic—and open-market—countries, the results appear to be mixed. And what progress has been made isn't necessarily because of any government assistance—in part because it's missing the major targets.

There is no denying that an increasing number of Canadian companies are...

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