Harper Government Helps Ensure Small Businesses Succeed Abroad

Minister Fast meets with his Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Advisory Board

November 21, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today highlighted the many ways that the Government of Canada is helping small business create jobs and opportunities by engaging in global markets during a meeting with his Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) Advisory Board.

“SMEs are the backbone of the Canadian economy. They account for 99.8 percent of all Canadian companies, and those with fewer than 100 employees make up 86 percent of all exporting companies,” said Minister Fast. “That is why it is imperative that our government stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these important entrepreneurs when they go abroad to create jobs and opportunity for Canadian families.”

One important accomplishment since the last meeting in June is the agreement-in-principle for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement concluded in October. When the agreement comes into force, it will eliminate 98 percent of all EU tariffs, which will translate into increased profits and opportunities for Canadian SMEs in every part of the country.

“Trade agreements like the recent historic deal between Canada and the EU are important, but they are just one part of Canada’s ambitious pro-trade plan equation,” added Minister Fast. “Free trade agreements are made meaningful for SMEs with the support of the Trade Commissioner Service and its network of offices across Canada and in 150 cities around the world where trade experts are ready to offer key services to Canadian businesses, saving them time and money.”

The meeting was the first under the leadership of the newly appointed chair, Jim Reynolds, President and CEO of Waterloo, Ontario-based Padre Software Inc.

“For SMEs, support from the Trade Commissioner Service is crucial,” said Mr. Reynolds. “Trade commissioners offer essential insight into what can be challenging circumstances whenever Canadian entrepreneurs venture into new business environments.”

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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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