March 5, 2009 (3:50 p.m. EST)
No. 60

Minister Day Announces Crucial Step Forward on Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Agreement

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced that Canada and the European Union have agreed on the areas to be negotiated in a possible comprehensive economic agreement, which are outlined in a joint report. These areas include trade in goods and services, as well as areas such as investment, technical barriers to trade and regulatory cooperation.

"I am pleased with the tremendous progress we have made with the EU," said Minister Day. "This agreement puts us in a position to launch comprehensive negotiations as early as possible. The EU is our second-largest trading partner, and the Canada-EU relationship holds great potential. During times of economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever for Canadians to seek out new trade and investment opportunities abroad."

Minister Day also stated that the Government of Canada will continue to work closely with all provinces and territories, and is pleased to have found a way to directly involve them in the negotiations. Minister Day thanked the members of the Council of the Federation for their recent declaration of support, and said that this effort is also strongly supported by the Canadian business community.

"The previously released Canada-EU joint economic study, Assessing the Costs and Benefits of a Closer EU-Canada Economic Partnership, estimated that an economic agreement has the potential to give a $12-billion boost to the Canadian economy and increase bilateral trade by over 20 percent," said Minister Day. "Advancing our economic relationship with the EU is a priority for our government. It will contribute to the prosperity of all Canadians."

A bilateral agreement with the EU could deliver commercial benefits across many sectors of the Canadian economy, including aerospace, chemicals, aluminum, wood products, fish and seafood, automotive vehicles and parts, agricultural products such as wheat and pork, and transportation services and other business services.

In 2008, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and the EU totalled $90.1 billion, up 7 percent from 2007. The EU is Canada's second-largest export market after the United States. Canadian merchandise exports to the EU were up 3.5 per cent in 2008, reaching $36.1 billion.

For the full text of the joint report, please visit Canada-European Union: negotiations toward a comprehensive economic partnership agreement.

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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

Backgrounder

Canada and the European Union: Toward a Comprehensive Economic Agreement

At the Canada-EU Summit on October 17, 2008, in Québec, leaders agreed to work toward a stronger economic partnership. The first step in that process is now complete: Canada and the EU have established areas for the negotiation of an ambitious and comprehensive economic agreement. Together with the provinces and territories, and in consultation with Canadian stakeholders, the Government of Canada will now prepare its detailed negotiating mandate with a view to formally launch negotiations as early as possible.

Canada and the EU agreed to seek an ambitious agreement. The recommended areas for negotiations include the following:

  • trade in goods;

  • sanitary and phytosanitary issues (food safety and animal and plant health measures);

  • technical barriers to trade;

  • trade facilitation;

  • customs procedures and rules of origin;

  • cross-border trade in services, including facilitating mutual recognition of professional qualifications;

  • investment;

  • central and sub-central government procurement;

  • regulatory cooperation (laws and procedures);

  • intellectual property;

  • facilitating the temporary movement of business persons;

  • competition policy and other, related, matters, including monopolies and state enterprises;

  • institutional arrangements and dispute settlement;

  • sustainable development, including provisions on the environment, labour rights and support for corporate social responsibility.

The joint report notes that additional areas of mutual interest, beyond areas that have traditionally been included in Canada's trade agreements, may also be included in the negotiations.