January 31, 2009 (12:40 p.m. EST)
No. 27

Minister Day Concludes Successful Meetings at World Economic Forum

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today concluded a successful trip to Davos, Switzerland, where he participated in the annual World Economic Forum.

"It is important that Canada work with other world leaders to strengthen the global economy," said Minister Day. "Canada remains strongly committed to encouraging increased trade and investment flows with other nations and finding new opportunities by working together in investment, trade, and science and technology partnerships."

Minister Day met with Peter Allgeier, Acting United States Trade Representative, with whom he raised Canada's concerns about the "buy American" component of the proposed U.S. stimulus package. "We know from history that protectionist legislation winds up hurting one's own economy and invariably hurting the economies around it," said Minister Day.

"During my meetings, I covered a broad range of issues, but common among them all was the pursuit of liberalized trade," said Minister Day. "As we look forward, countries must refrain from the temptation of erecting tariff barriers and hiding behind them. Now more than ever, countries must recommit to free and fair trade."

Minister Day had discussions with his counterparts from many countries as well as with European Union Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Günter Verheugen, European Union Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, during which he promoted the benefits of a comprehensive economic agreement between Canada and the European Union.

In a meeting between Minister Day and Swiss Councillor of Economic Affairs Doris Leuthard, they discussed Canada's progress on implementing the Canada-European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement. A bill to implement the agreement was tabled in the House of Commons on January 28, 2009.

Minister Day and Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean shared concerns over the protectionist measures in the U.S. stimulus package.

In his discussions with Kim Jong-hoon, South Korea's Minister of Trade, Minister Day advanced the issues of market access for Canadian beef exports and bilateral free trade agreement negotiations.

Minister Day and Yerbol Orynbayev, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, discussed the growing bilateral trade between the two countries and explored opportunities for Canadian companies in Kazakhstan.

Minister Day also reaffirmed Canada's commitment to concluding the Doha round of negotiations with World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy.

The World Economic Forum is an international organization dedicated to establishing and furthering dialogue among public and private sector global leaders. More than 40 heads of state and government and over 20 ministers of trade attended this year's meeting. It was the first gathering of world leaders since the G20 group met in Washington, D.C., in November to discuss the global financial crisis. Approximately 1,400 business executives also attended.

The Government of Canada has been invited to the World Economic Forum annual meeting since 1982.

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For further information, and high-resolution pictures of Minister Day's attendance at the World Economic Forum, media representatives may contact:

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

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada