Canada's State of Trade: Trade and Investment Update – 2009

A Message from the Minister

Honourable Stockwell Day, Canada's Minister of International Trade and the Asia-Pacific Gateway

As Canada's Minister of International Trade, I am pleased to present the 2009 edition of Canada's State of Trade.

The year 2008 presented a challenging economic environment for all nations. Major economies saw sharp contractions, and global output is expected to shrink in 2009. Global trade is also deeply affected. In fact, the World Trade Organization predicts an overall contraction of world trade volumes by nine percent in 2009.

As a trade-dependent economy, Canada is naturally feeling the impacts. But we also enjoy a number of advantages that are helping us through this challenging period. We have a strong financial system and well managed public finances. We are also committed to free trade and categorically reject policies of protectionism.

Canada has been a strong and vocal advocate for free and open systems of trade and investment during these tough economic times. Our domestic stimulus package includes an elimination of tariffs on a wide range of imported machinery and equipment, making it easier for Canadian firms to source the products they need to compete and succeed in the global economy. We are also reducing barriers to encourage continued foreign investment in Canada.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continues to be the foundation of our free trade policy. In particular, we are working closely with the United States to deepen and broaden our trading relationship. This vital bilateral relationship will receive even greater attention in the year ahead.

As this year's State of Trade makes clear, there is also broad scope for Canada to continue expanding trade far beyond North America. This is the essential objective of our Global Commerce Strategy.

Since becoming Minister of International Trade and Minister responsible for the Asia-Pacific Gateway in November 2008, I have led Canadian trade missions in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Our government has achieved a number of milestones. As this report demonstrates, our exports in key markets in 2008 increased significantly—by 10 percent in China, 30 percent in Russia, 35 percent in India and 71 percent in Brazil.

Building on our new free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association, we also concluded new agreements with Peru, Colombia and Jordan, with other negotiations underway with key partners in Asia and the Americas.

We also recently launched negotiations on a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union, and exploratory talks with India and Morocco.

We are putting new international agreements in place to promote two-way investment and help our scientists and researchers contribute their expertise to technological breakthroughs around the world.

To support all of this activity, our extensive network of Trade Commissioners continues to connect Canadian companies to global opportunities and promote Canada as an investment location of choice to foreign investors. With offices across Canada and around the world—including new ones recently announced in China, India, and Brazil—we are expanding our services, and giving our team the tools they need to help Canadians succeed around the world.

Through the efforts of government and business alike, I believe that, when the expected global recovery comes, Canada will be in an excellent competitive position. I look forward to working with people from across the spectrum of Canada's business community to address the challenges of today, and build the foundations for the jobs, prosperity and opportunities of tomorrow.

The Honourable Stockwell Day
Canada's Minister of International Trade & the Asia-Pacific Gateway