Canada's State of Trade: Trade and Investment Update 2011

Message from the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

I am pleased to present the 2011 edition of Canada’s State of Trade. This report provides an overview of Canada’s international commercial performance during the past year.

The economic climate of the last few years has been very challenging. However, after enduring the steepest recession in 80 years, the Canadian and global economies posted robust growth. Canada has exhibited one of the fastest rates of economic growth in the G-7—an economic performance that the International Monetary Fund projects will continue into the future.

Since the recovery from the crisis started in July 2009, close to 540,000 jobs have been created in Canada. Not only have we now recouped all of the jobs lost during the recession, but 111,000 new jobs have been created—the bulk of which have been full-time. In addition, Canada’s fiscal position is the strongest among the G7 and is on track to be first to return to balanced budgets among the G-7.

The current economic environment nevertheless continues to present both challenges and opportunities of unprecedented scale for Canada. The Harper government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, is committed to working with Canadian businesses to achieve commercial success and improve their bottomlines via trade, and consolidate Canada’s competitive position as an economic front-runner in the global economy.

The Canadian government is committed to continuing to ensure Canada remains an attractive and stable environment for business investment and economic success. Canada is emerging from the global recession as one of the world’s top-performing advanced economies; throughout the crisis of the past two years, the world has looked to Canada as a model and an inspiration. Our Economic Action Plan, a low-tax plan for jobs and economic growth, has set the stage for success. The next phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, Budget 2011, is designed to further strengthen the financial security of Canadian families by protecting and creating good jobs, attracting investment via a competitive tax system, encouraging innovation, and broadening and deepening our trading relationships.

This plan includes the pursuit of a broad and ambitious free trade agenda. Negotiations under the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization remain a priority for Canada, but we are not relying on that multilateral initiative alone. Canadian jobs depend on Canada remaining on an equal footing with its competitors,many of whom are negotiating free trade agreements to their advantage in markets of interest to Canada. The government is thus continuing to aggressively move forward on opening new markets and unlocking the opportunities that freer trade can offer.

Since 2006, the Harper government has concluded free trade agreements with eight countries, and we are continuing free trade negotiations with close to 50 others. This includes trade negotiations with the European Union, Canada’s second-largest trading partner, and India, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. We are also exploring the possibility of a closer economic partnering with Japan, and seeking to further deepen our trading relationship with the United States through key initiatives stemming from a Border Vision Declaration personally launched by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama in February.

Additionally, we are seeking better ties and greater access to markets via foreign investment promotion and protection agreements and bilateral air negotiation agreements. They help Canadian investors and exporters grow and expand their operations into new markets.

Canada’s State of Trade demonstrates that Canada’s international trade is on the upswing. The Harper government is committed to continuing to actively position Canada as a trade and investment leader and as a strategic business partner with access to the world’s largest consumermarkets. I look forward to working with all Canadians and investors fromaround the world to build on the progress we have made and to pave the way for even greater achievements in international commerce.

The Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway