Minister Van Loan Promotes Freer Trade with European Union at Spanish Business Association

Comprehensive economic and trade agreement would open doors for businesses across the Atlantic

(No. 176 - May 28, 2010 - 1:10 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today continued the call for freer trade and closer economic ties with the European Union. The Minister outlined the benefits of a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union during a keynote address to Canadian and Spanish business leaders in Toronto.

“Negotiators are making important progress as we move closer to an agreement that has the potential to increase two-way trade between Canada and the European Union by 20 percent while creating jobs and opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Minister Van Loan. “These negotiations represent our most significant trade initiative since the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

The third round of talks concluded on May 6 in Brussels, Belgium. Discussions included sectors such as trade in goods and services, regulatory cooperation, trade remedies and competition.

The fourth round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in Brussels during the second week of July 2010.

Minister Van Loan’s address to the Spain-Canada Business Association comes on the heels of his visit to Spain in early May, where he met with Spanish business leaders, decision makers and investors to highlight Canada’s business advantages.

“During my meetings in Madrid, one theme emerged loud and clear—as we work through the recession, we need to do so as partners,” said Minister Van Loan.

“Canada and Spain are among the world’s largest economic powers and have economies similar in size,” said Miguel Escobar, President of the Spain-Canada Business Association. “Our members welcome the government’s efforts to strengthen the transatlantic linkages that make our economies stronger.”

Canada has just been designated by the Club de Exportadores e Inversores Españoles [Spanish Exporters and Investors Club] as the top business destination outside of the European Union for Spanish investors, and Spain has identified the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement as a priority during its European Union presidency in the first half of 2010.

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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

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada