Great. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you for being so flexible. My apologies for this being by video conference and for being in different parts of the world. You're very gracious to put up with this.
In my opening statement, I would just say a couple of things. One, as you mentioned, in December we submitted the third report to the Minister of Finance. As we discussed before, our focus is trying to increase inclusive growth in Canada looking over the next 10 to 15 years.
We tried to focus on fewer than a dozen recommendations—there are about 13 right now—and to release them in waves. We talked before about the previous two waves. I believe Michael Sabia and Ilse Treurnicht might have been involved in talking about the second wave. I won't go through those. Obviously, if there's anything you'd like to discuss about those, we'd be very happy to talk about them.
The primary thing I want to say here is that in this third report that we're putting forward, there are really two sets of recommendations. One is around business investment. The second is around skills and how we help re-skill Canadians for the future with all the technological changes going on.
On the business investment side, there's been a huge amount of work done on it in Canada by people more thoughtful than we are—the C.D. Howe Institute, the Conference Board—and there are many terrific reports to be looked at, all with good things to say. We really focused on three things in that business investment bucket. One, as we look at ourselves comparatively, in Canada we are investing less on the business investment front than are our peers, particularly if we compare ourselves with the United States—and we have been for quite a number of years. There's been a very recent uptick, which is good news, but we don't think we should draw any strong lines from it.
Another of the three specific areas we focused on was regulation. We think there's a need for much more regulatory agility, especially as we look ahead at the innovation that's required. There's a huge amount of regulation in place. We've been working with the Treasury Board on that side. We want to make sure our regulatory system is more agile and ready for the new areas, in particular in innovation, whether it be in health care, fintech, agrifood, and others. We also want to see better coordination among the different agencies and jurisdictions, and want to have more efficient and predictable regulation. When we look in the areas of energy and so forth, there are some very long delays. The unpredictability is a big factor.
The second part on this business investment side is tax, but in a very targeted way. We think the tax system needs to be modernized in the sense that it's very much focused on looking at plant equipment and property. That is an important part of business investment, but as we look ahead, innovation IP will be even more critical. We think there needs to be more balance focused on that so that we can ensure that we do get the investment on the IP side. In Canada, just as an example, we invest about 2.1% of our GDP in IP compared with the U.S. at 3.7%, or France at 5.2%. As well in this targeted review, the tax system has not been looked at in a comprehensive way for about 30 years, and we are keen to ensure that we are competitive and that we also apply a customer experience lens to the tax administration so that when there are disputes or reviews, it's done in an even more efficient manner.
The third area with regard to business investment is with SMEs. Our SMEs are a really important part of the Canadian economy. Sometimes we focus too much on the big businesses. We think there's a significant opportunity to help SMEs in broadening their exports to other parts of the world. We punch below our weight, even though we have some terrific SMEs. There have been some very good programs in place, but we think they need to be scaled up, whether it be with the Business Development Bank or other agencies. We need to look for ways to help SMEs adopt more innovation.
Those are the three buckets: the regulation, tax, and SMEs. Then on skills....
No, I've been talking too long, and please shut me up at any time.