Minister Van Loan Urges Small and Medium-Sized Businesses to Take Advantage of Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Advisory Board to prepare plan on how Canadian businesses can capitalize on trade agreement

(No. 373 - November 24, 2010 - 3:25 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today asked Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Advisory Board to prepare a plan on how small and medium-sized enterprises can take advantage of a comprehensive economic partnership between Canada and the European Union. The Minister made the request during his twice-yearly round-table meeting with the Board.

“Our government continues to open new markets for Canadian workers and businesses,” said Minister Van Loan. “I’ve enlisted the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Advisory Board to prepare a plan on how small and medium-sized businesses can tap into the opportunities that freer trade with the European Union would offer.”

Negotiations with the European Union are Canada’s top trade initiative. Canada and the European Union have held five successful rounds of negotiations, making significant progress toward an agreement. The negotiations aim to create real access to the European Union market for Canadian business by eliminating tariffs, improving regulatory cooperation and facilitating travel for business people, as well as addressing other issues. Small and medium-sized enterprises in particular will benefit from simpler, more transparent trading rules that will facilitate entry into the EU market.

The Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Advisory Board is expected to present its plan at its next meeting with Minister Van Loan.

The Board is made up of business owners and executives representing various sectors and regions across Canada. The Board was created in 2001 to provide advice to the minister on issues that affect small and medium-sized enterprises and their involvement in international trade.

In the last four years, the government has negotiated new trade agreements with eight countries, is in negotiation with close to 50 others and is now expanding the three first-generation agreements signed before 2006.

For more information, please visit Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Negotiations.

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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