As Canada’s Minister of International Trade, I am pleased to present the 2010 edition of Canada's State of Trade. This report provides an overview of trends in Canada’s international commercial performance over the past year.
Last year was a challenging year for the global economy. While Canadian exports, imports and foreign direct investment flows decreased last year, Canada did better than most. We had the mildest recession of any G7 country, and for the first time in a generation, Canada’s unemployment rate is lower than that of the United States.
More importantly, Canada has emerged fromthe crisis in a strong position. Our government implemented the Economic Action Plan to create jobs and stimulate our economy, and we showed leadership internationally by outlining our plan to return to fiscal balance.We generated results.
All of the major forecasts point to Canada leading growth among advanced nations in the coming years. The strength of Canada’s financial system is the envy of the world. By 2015, Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to be less than half that of the next best G7 country. Furthermore, by 2013 Canada is expected to have the lowest statutory corporate tax rate among the G7.
While Canada remains committed to progress at the World Trade Organization, we are moving forward on an aggressive agenda of free trade negotiations with partners around the world. This includes negotiations with the European Union, Canada’s most ambitious negotiations since the North American Free Trade Agreement.
This is in addition to recent successes on free trade agreementswith the European Free Trade Association, Peru, Colombia, Jordan and Panama, and ongoing negotiations that include the Caribbean Community, the Dominican Republic, Ukraine and the Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.
Canada is a world leader in promoting free trade and offers key competitive advantages for investors:
But we will not rest on our laurels. Our competitors are not sitting still.We will continue making Canada the destination of choice for businesses and investment.
We have taken unilateral action by eliminating nearly all of the tariffs on productivity-improving machinery and equipment as well as manufacturing inputs with the remaining tariffs to go to zero by 2015. This will make Canada the first G-20 country to become a tariff-free zone for manufacturing.
As this report clearly shows, Canadian exporters are continuing to diversify into the fast-growing economies of the world, including many small and medium exporters. Many of them are using the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) to help them do it. From offices across Canada and around the world, our Trade Commissioners provide a range of services to help Canadian businesses navigate—and succeed in—global markets. This publication contains the results of a new study that shows that businesses that use the service have exports that are 18 percent higher than firms that do not. We are committed to helping more Canadian businesses realize these benefits by tapping into the many tools the TCS provides.
We must continue working together to stay ahead of the curve in this increasingly competitive and rapidly changing global economic environment. Together, we can ensure that Canada remains the best location in the world fromwhich to run a global company, to export and in which to invest, work, live and create.
The Honourable Peter Van Loan
Canada’s Minister of International Trade