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Harper Government Talks Trade, Holds Budget Consultations with Indo-Canadian Business Community in Richmond Hill, Ontario

International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan says economy, trade and jobs are top government priorities

(No. 83 - February 25, 2011 - 1:10 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today held pre-budget consultations with the Indo-Canadian community in Richmond Hill, Ontario, during which he also discussed Canada’s low-tax plan and the government’s ambitious free trade agenda.

“The economy remains our government’s top priority,” said Minister Van Loan. “With the economic recovery still fragile, we are moving forward with our low-tax plan and focusing on creating jobs for Canadians. Our government is committed to opening new global markets for Canadian businesses and Canadian workers. That is why we are holding budget consultations with Canada’s business community and seeking input on how best to move our economic recovery forward and create future growth.”

During the discussions, Minister Van Loan also highlighted the importance of concluding a free trade agreement with India.

“In November, I launched a productive first round of free trade negotiations during a visit to New Delhi,” added Minister Van Loan. “A Canada-India joint study predicted that a free trade agreement between our countries would boost Canada’s economy by $6 billion to $15 billion annually and increase our bilateral trade by 50 percent. This means more jobs, investment and growth for Canadian businesses and workers.”

Since taking office in 2006, the Harper government has pursued an ambitious free trade agenda. In just five years, Canada has concluded free trade agreements with eight countries: Colombia, Jordan, Panama, Peru and the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, and is now in negotiations with close to 50 countries.

Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and India reached $4.2 billion in 2010.

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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