Minister Van Loan Signs Improved Investment Agreement with Slovakia

(No. 231 - July 20, 2010 - 3 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, and Ivan Miklos, Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, today welcomed an updated foreign investment promotion and protection agreement between the two countries. The updated agreement, signed during Minister Van Loan’s visit to Slovakia, encourages two-way investment and strengthens existing commercial ties.

“This agreement will increase two-way investment and help assure Canada’s economic recovery,” said Minister Van Loan. “Today’s signing will go a long way to helping Canadian and Slovak companies confidently take advantage of opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.”

The Canada-Slovakia Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, which took effect in 1992, has been updated to comply with European Union treaty law. This updated agreement also includes a number of improvements requested by Canada, such as greater protection of environmental, health and safety standards, and greater transparency during investor-state arbitration.

“Agreements such as the one we signed today show the improvement of strong commercial ties under our government,” said Minister Van Loan. “As negotiations toward a trade agreement between Canada and the European Union go on, we will continue to promote Canada as an investment destination.”

Foreign investment promotion and protection agreements offer a level of protection and predictability that helps companies invest with confidence. Canada currently has 23 such agreements in force, of which six are with European Union countries.

Canada and Slovakia enjoy excellent bilateral relations, largely thanks to Canada’s sheltering of Czechoslovak political refugees in 1948 and 1968, steadfast support for dissidents throughout the Communist period and the strengthening of Canada-Slovakia personal and family ties since 1989. The community of 64,000 Canadians of Slovak heritage is a link which enhances the ties between the two countries.

Canada was also the first country to ratify Slovakia's membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Slovakia has grown in the last decade and reached over $192 million in 2009.

For information about Minister Van Loan’s visit to Europe, please consult Official visit to Europe.

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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