Canada Builds Closer Trade and Investment Ties with Asia-Pacific Partners

Minister Van Loan highlights free and open trade opportunities with Japan

(No. 183 - June 7, 2010 - 11:45 a.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to strengthen trade and economic cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region before wrapping up his trade visit to Japan.

While in Japan, Minister Van Loan attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade in Sapporo, where he held a number of bilateral meetings with counterparts from APEC member economies.

“The Asia-Pacific region is a priority for Canada,” said Minister Van Loan. “We are committed to APEC and will continue to work with our partners to promote economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment across the region.”

Minister Van Loan stressed Canada’s support for economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region, including working toward a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific as a long-term objective. Minister Van Loan told his APEC counterparts that Canada, as host of the upcoming G-20 summit, will focus on restoring the health of the global economy and laying the foundation for future sustainable and balanced growth.

“Free trade and investment are vital to recovery from the global economic downturn,” said the Minister. “When Canada hosts the G-8 and G-20 summits later this month, we will be telling the world that partnerships, not protectionism, hold the key to global economic recovery.”

On the margins of the APEC meeting, Minister Van Loan continued to engage with Trans-Pacific Partnership members to assess how Canada might add value to the negotiations.

Minister Van Loan also met with Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs; Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; and Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; as well as a number of business leaders. He noted Canada’s commitment to strengthening its science and technology relationship with one of the world's most innovative and science-rich economies, and conveyed Canada’s commitment to progress on a range of Canada-Japan commercial issues, including the possibility of negotiating an economic partnership agreement with Japan.

“A Canada-Japan economic partnership agreement would help address today’s economic challenges by creating jobs and opening more doors for business on both sides of the Pacific,” said the Minister. “Our government is committed to promoting free trade, fighting protectionism and creating opportunities for Canadian businesses and Canadian workers in global markets.”

Minister Van Loan also visited one of the first of a series of 7-Eleven stores being built in Japan using Canadian wood-frame methods and wood products. He also delivered an address at the Friends of Canada Symposium, which brought together economic and social organizations with links to Canada.

Japan is Canada’s second-largest trading partner in Asia and its largest source of foreign direct investment from Asia; it is thus a very important market for Canadian businesses. Together, APEC members account for 55 percent of world GDP, 40 percent of the world population and 45 percent of global merchandise trade.

To learn more about the outcomes of the APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade, consult the Statement of the Chair and the Statement on Supporting the Multilateral Trading System and Resisting Protectionism.

For more details on Minister Van Loan’s visit to China and Japan, please consult Minister Van Loan visits Asia.

- 30 -

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