Minister Fast Welcomes Success of Canadian Financial Services Sector in Colombia

Free trade agreements create jobs and opportunities, says Fast

October 24, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today congratulated Canada-based company Horizons ETFs Group on the introduction of its first exchange traded fund (ETF) in Colombia.

Canada and Colombia enjoy a multi-faceted and growing bilateral relationship that has shown increased engagement since August 2011, when the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into force.

“As part of the most ambitious pro-trade plan in Canadian history, our government continues to look for ways to help Canadian companies gain an advantage in markets abroad in order to create jobs, growth and prosperity for Canada and the hemisphere as a whole,” said Minister Fast. “Free trade with Colombia is also consistent with Canada’s priority objective of deepening its engagement in the Americas through increasing economic opportunity, strengthening security and institutions and building stable foundations through relationships.”

The implementation of the Canada-Colombia FTA has provided expanded opportunities for Canadian exporters and investors in a broad range of sectors, particularly in oil and gas, mining, agriculture and agri-food, manufacturing, as well as in the financial services sector.

Colombia has a vibrant and resilient financial sector that has performed strongly in the wake of the economic downturn. Recent reforms to the sector have helped develop capital markets by allowing for greater flexibility for pension-fund investments and increased competition in the insurance business—thus further opening the door to Canadian companies.

The first Horizons ETFs fund offered in Colombia allows investors to participate in 40 of the largest and most liquid stocks listed on the Colombian, Chilean and Peruvian stock exchanges.

“We believe that our new fund and the additional ETFs we have planned for subsequent launch will help to establish a thriving local business­—one that will bring many benefits to Colombian, Canadian and international investors alike,” said Howard Atkinson, President of Horizons ETF Management (Canada) Inc. and Managing Director of Horizons ETF Management (Latin America) LLC. “Our first Horizons-branded ETF in Colombia will provide exposure to the large potential growth in the Andean region. We thank the Canadian government for creating new opportunities in the financial services sector through the Canada-Colombia FTA.”

Horizons ETFs, based in Toronto and one of the largest families of ETFs in Canada, has more than $4 billion in assets under management and 72 ETFs listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Globally, the Horizons ETFs Group and its affiliated companies oversee more than $8 billion in assets under management in businesses in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Korea and the United States.

Since 2006, Canada has concluded free trade agreements with nine countries: Colombia, the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), Honduras, Jordan, Panama and Peru. Most recently, Canada reached an agreement in principle with the 28-nation European Union. In addition, Canada is currently pursuing trade agreements with more than 25 countries, including with large, dynamic and fast-growing markets such as India, Japan and the countries that comprise the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Colombia, the fourth-largest economy in Latin America and the Caribbean (excluding Mexico), is an attractive market for Canadian companies. Two-way merchandise trade in 2012 reached nearly $1.5 billion, making Colombia our fifth-largest trading partner in Latin America and the Caribbean (excluding Mexico). The Canada-Colombia FTA has generated growth for Canadian exporters and manufacturers. In the two-year period (August 2011 to July 2013) following the entry into force of the FTA, Canadian exports increased more than 11 percent.

In addition, Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service maintains a significant presence in Colombia and throughout Latin America, and plays a key role in promoting trade while supporting Canadian companies with commercial interests in the region.

Left to right: Stephen Benoit, Export Development Canada’s Chief Representative for the Andean Region; Adam Felesky, CEO and Head of Americas, Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc.; Howard Atkinson, President of Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. and Managing Director of Horizon’s Investment Management (LatAm) LLC; and Steve Côté, Canada’s chargé d’affaires in Colombia.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade
613-992-7332
rudy.husny@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
613-995-1874
media@international.gc.ca
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