Canada Commits to Strengthening WTO

(No. 365 - December 1, 2009 - 11 a.m. EST) The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to strengthening the World Trade Organization in order to increase global trade. The announcement follows high-level talks in Geneva with his WTO counterparts from 152 countries.

“As a trading nation, Canada has much to gain from participating in the the WTO, which is the best forum for strengthening trade with other economies, including our most important partners,” said Minister Day. “It is now more important than ever to resist protectionism and to open new markets. Canada supports an ambitious conclusion to the Doha Development Round, which would generate prosperity and speed up the global recovery. Canada will do everything possible to support the WTO in this objective.”

At the ministerial meeting, held November 30 to December 2 in Geneva, Minister Day and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, discussed the WTO’s contribution to recovery, growth and development.

Canada is an active participant in the WTO Doha negotiations. Canadian agricultural producers, manufacturers and service providers stand to benefit from the increased access to global markets and strengthened trade rules that a successful Doha Round would provide.

“The Government of Canada has a balanced agricultural policy at the WTO, and we are working hard to deliver real gains for all Canadian farm families,” said Minister Ritz. “We are committed to creating opportunities for our exporters, and we consistently stand up for supply-managed sectors.”

While in Geneva, Minister Day met with Kim Jong-hoon, the Republic of Korea’s Minister of Trade, to discuss the status of negotiations toward a Canada-Korea free trade agreement, as well as Canada’s desire to regain access to the Korean market for beef. He also met with Abdellatif Mazouz, Minister of External Trade for Morocco. Both Minister Day and Minister Mazouz expressed their commitment to moving forward on a potential free trade agreement, with formal negotiations to be launched as soon as possible.

In addition to pursuing increased trade through the WTO, Canada is also negotiating bilateral free trade agreements. Within a span of four years, the Government of Canada has opened doors to Canadian business by concluding new free trade agreements with Colombia, Jordan, Panama, Peru and the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. These agreements help expand trade, open doors for Canadian exporters, encourage economic growth and create jobs.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade
and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-6186

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000