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Nygard’s Golden Jubilee Review- ‘Canada Needed Nygard For Any Free Trade Success’

Nygard’s Golden Jubilee Review

It’s not an everyday occurrence to discover an individual who has pulled himself up by his bootstraps to achieve phenomenal success with a business that’s still breaking barriers, still achieving firsts, and still innovating fifty years later. What does it take? How did he achieve it all? And how can we achieve similar successes?

That’s what we’ll explore in this tri-weekly series. We’ll break down fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s achievements and look at how his accomplishments can serve as practical applications to others in business and life.

‘Canada Needed Nygard For Any Free Trade Success’  

“If free trade between Canada and the United States has any chance of succeeding, it will take businessmen of Nygard’s flair and persuasive powers to make it fly.” (1986) Peter C. Newman, award-winning journalist and author.

This was the view expressed in an article “A free-trader with the right style” published in MACLEANS, a Canadian newsmagazine.

Fashion mogul Peter Nygard was seen as key to the entire free trade reality. While his industry counterparts objected, Nygard fully embraced the idea despite the risks to his business. 

As Newman states, “Nygard fervently believes in the principles of free trade even though he knows the prospect will at least initially hurt his company.”

The article inferred that with the challenges Canada was having getting key stakeholders onboard with the idea of free-trade, it was on shaky ground. Newman explains the challenges faced by the Canadian Government at the time and the importance of Nygard’s role in the process.

Amid much pomp and uncertain circumstance, a blue-ribbon panel of Canadian businessmen meets in Ottawa next week to begin the painful process of formulating a tenable Canadian position on free trade with the United States.…

Every manufacturing sector is demanding to be heard, but few are as vulnerable as Canada’s ailing textile and apparel industries. It already costs every Canadian an estimated $14 a year to protect 60,000 workers by throwing up quotas and other barriers against foreign imports. 

It is doubly significant, therefore, that the man chosen by International Trade Minister James Kelleher to represent the industry on the committee is a flamboyant and highly unorthodox women’s clothing manufacturer named Peter Nygard….

Nygard’s personal views are important because, unlike most Canadian clothing manufacturers, he has not only tried to invade the American market but has achieved considerable success, with 40 percent of his sales now in the United States; one-third of his manufacturing capacity is in plants he owns in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and China.

When you review the articles written about what was happening in Canada at that time, there was much uncertainty as to how free trade could become a reality. 

At the same time, it was believed that the potential was high in the ‘80s to deliver on it since both President Ronald Reagan of the United States and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada were on the same page in wanting to make something happen.

Yet, it was recognized by not just Newman, but Canadian Government officials, who were charged with coming up with a sellable free trade policy position, that Peter Nygard’s views, business success, and ability to establish powerful relationships with foreign countries made him ideal in helping them work out their dilemmas.

From the number of letters Nygard received from various Canadian Government officials, chances are they agreed with Newman when Newman expressed the following:

If free trade between Canada and the United States has any chance of succeeding, it will take businessmen of Nygard’s flair and persuasive powers to make it fly. 

He is the prototype of the kind of internationally-minded man of business who views the U.S. market not as a frightening black hole but as an opportunity to be enjoyed and conquered.

Success begets success. Once you have proven your bona fides in the business world many people stop and listen as the Canadian Government did to Nygard on free trade.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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