International Trade Minister Promotes Free Trade with European Union 

Minister Van Loan conveys Canada’s free trade message to Polish business and community leaders

(No. 294 - September 15, 2010 - 2 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today promoted the benefits of free trade between Canada and the European Union to Polish business and community leaders in the Greater Toronto Area.

“Canada appreciates Poland’s support in advancing negotiations toward the conclusion of a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union,” said Minister Van Loan. “Such an agreement would be win-win for Canada and Poland. It would expand business opportunities and help create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.”

“The bond that links our countries is strong and lasting. It is based on friendship, common values and responsibility for peace and stability worldwide,” said Marek Ciesielczuk, Poland’s Consul General in Toronto. “Canada is also an important trading partner for Poland, and we look forward to the deepening of our economic linkages through free trade between Canada and the EU.”

The Canada-European Union joint economic study released in October 2008 shows that a comprehensive economic and trade agreement could boost Canadian gross domestic product by $12 billion annually, and two-way trade with Europe could increase by $38 billion.

Poland’s dynamic economy and its accession to the European Union in 2004 have created opportunities for the Canadian private sector. In 2009, merchandise trade between Canada and Poland totalled $989.5 million. Opportunities for trade and investment for Canadian firms exist in many sectors, including agri-food, environment, information and communication technology, infrastructure and aerospace.

“Poland is our largest merchandise trading partner in Central Europe. Our commercial relations are dynamic and hold great potential for growth,” said Minister Van Loan. “Our strong people-to-people ties will help Canadian businesses take advantage of the opportunities that a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union would create.”

In less than four years, the Government of Canada has concluded new free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama and the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. In addition to the ongoing negotiations with the European Union, the government has also launched discussions on an economic partnership with India, another of the world’s largest economies.

- 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