Harper Government Highlights Widespread Benefits to Prince Edward Island of Historic Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Deeper trade with European Union will create new jobs and opportunities across P.E.I.

October 24, 2014 - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today said that workers and businesses in key economic sectors throughout Prince Edward Island will greatly benefit from the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. An agreement-in-principle for this historic deal was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso last week. Minister Shea was joined at an event at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown, P.E.I., by many of P.E.I.’s key business and industry leaders.

“This historic agreement is Canada’s most ambitious ever and is a big win for P.E.I.’s workers and families,” said Minister Shea. “Workers and families who rely on key sectors of P.E.I.’s economy for their livelihood, including those in the fish and seafood, agriculture, manufacturing and service industries, stand to benefit from the preferential access this agreement provides to the largest and most lucrative market in the world.”

Prince Edward Island’s diverse agricultural and agri-food sector is central to the rural way of life of many Islanders and employs some 5,600 Islanders. The province’s agricultural exports to the EU were worth an average of $4.5 million annually between 2010 and 2012.

Canadian agricultural exports to the EU face high tariffs averaging 13.9 percent. When the Canada-EU trade agreement is fully implemented, these tariffs will be eliminated.

“World-class agricultural and agri-food goods are P.E.I.’s main exporting sector,” added Minister Shea. “Eliminating tariffs on these high-quality products will create the conditions for increased sales, which will directly benefit hard-working Islanders through new jobs, new opportunities and higher wages.”

For example, the Canada-European Union trade agreement will eliminate tariffs of up to 17.6 percent on processed potato goods, such as french fries and potato flakes, and will lock in a duty-free rate that could otherwise go as high as 14.4 percent on fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. These and other tariff reductions in the agricultural and agri-food sector will be of great benefit to PEI.

“Our government is focused on what matters to all Canadians: creating new jobs and new opportunities. The Canada-EU trade agreement will generate substantial gains across all key economic sectors covering every region of Canada,” said the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade. “In fact, Canada will be one of the only developed countries to have preferential access to the world’s two largest markets: the European Union and the United States. The competitive edge and combined access to these markets—and their more than 800 million affluent consumers—will make Canada the envy of trading nations worldwide. It will also make Canada an even more attractive destination for investors and manufacturers, and this in turn will create thousands of new jobs and new opportunities for Canadians.”

The EU is the world’s largest importer of agricultural goods, importing over $130 billion in 2012. It is also the world’s largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of $17 trillion.

For more information on how the Canada-EU trade agreement will benefit P.E.I., please visit Benefits for Prince Edward Island.

For more information on the vast benefits of this agreement to every region of Canada, please visit actionplan.gc.ca/CETA.

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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

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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