Minister Van Loan Updates Business Community on Progress Toward Canada-EU Economic and Trade Agreement and Its Potential to Grow the Economy

(No. 147 - April 30, 2010 - 1 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, took his free trade message to Toronto’s business community today in support of a Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement. In a keynote speech to the Economic Club of Canada he said Canadians stand to benefit from strengthened economic ties with the European Union, the world’s wealthiest single common market.

According to a Canada-European Union joint study, a deal is expected to deliver a $12-billion annual boost to the Canadian economy.

“In addition to lowering taxes, investing in innovation and promoting freer enterprise, our government is expanding market opportunities to help Canada’s economy on the path to a lasting recovery,” said Minister Van Loan. “A comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union will free trade, open doors for our businesses and create jobs for Canadians.”

For Canada, these negotiations represent our most significant trade initiative since the North American Free Trade Agreement. The North American Free Trade Agreement has doubled Canada’s trade with the United States, tripled trade with Mexico and created nearly 4.1 million jobs since it came into effect in 1994.

The Canada-European Union talks include the participation of the provinces at the table—a first for a free trade negotiation. Minister Van Loan underlined the important role of the provinces in working to deliver a successful agreement, on schedule, that aims high.

A third round of talks began in Ottawa on April 19. A fourth negotiating round will take place in Brussels in July 2010.

An agreement will benefit many sectors of the Canadian economy, including aerospace, chemicals, plastics, aluminum, wood products, fish and seafood, automotive vehicles and parts, agricultural products, transportation, financial services, renewable energy, information and communication technologies, engineering and computer services.

The European Union is the world’s largest exporter of goods and services and is Canada’s second most-important partner for trade and investment after the United States.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Monika Bujalska
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Peter Van Loan
Minister of International Trade
613-992-9304

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