International Trade Minister Promotes Canada’s Free Trade Leadership to Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce

(No. 301 - September 17, 2010 - 2 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today met with members of the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce in Toronto, where he promoted Canada’s leadership in free trade, and the growing trade relationship between Canada and the Pacific Rim.

“The relationship between Canada and Australia has developed over a long history, and is based on both a shared past and a common set of values,” said Minister Van Loan. “Our government’s aggressive free trade agenda is helping Canada continue on the path to full economic recovery. Our bilateral relationship with Australia is a part of that, as is Australia’s emerging role as a strategic location for Canadian companies wishing to extend their reach to Asia.”

Australia is also a free trade leader, and an important economic partner for Canada. At the end of 2009, two-way merchandise trade totalled $3.2 billion, and two-way investment was worth $17.6 billion. Since 2008, Canadian direct investment to Australia increased 47.1 percent to $12.8 billion.

“Australia’s success with free trade agreements, especially in Asia, mirrors many of Canada’s successes in the Americas and around the world,” said Minister Van Loan.

In less than four years, the Government of Canada has concluded new free trade agreements with Peru, Colombia, Jordan and Panama, and with the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Free trade negotiations are also well under way between Canada and the European Union, and should conclude in a trade deal by the end of next year. This will represent the most significant Canadian trade initiative since the North American Free Trade Agreement, and is expected to deliver a $12-billion annual boost to the Canadian economy.

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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