Canada Reinforces Ties with OECD and WTO Partners and Welcomes Better Living Index

Minister of State for Finance Menzies promotes benefits of Canada’s free trade agenda in Paris

(No. 147 - May 27, 2011 - 6:45 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ted Menzies, Minister of State for Finance, today wrapped up a two-day visit to Paris, where he attended the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forum and ministerial meeting on behalf of the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance. While in Paris, Minister of State Menzies also attended an informal gathering of some key members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and exchanged points of view on the Doha Round, underlining Canada’s commitment to working with other countries to strengthen the multilateral trading system.

“The Harper government has made clear that our top priority is the economy,” said Minister Fast. “Although our country has emerged from the global economic crisis in good shape compared to many of our G-8 and OECD peers, we must not take this success for granted. We must continue to pursue an ambitious trade agenda and a low-tax plan for jobs and economic growth to strengthen the financial security of hard-working Canadians.”

“Canada believes that promoting global economic growth requires us to keep markets open and to take concrete measures to actively promote increased trade and investment,” said Minister of State Menzies. “We attach great importance to the multilateral trading system and are committed to exploring all possible options with the goal of achieving an agreement that serves all WTO members.”

At the Paris meeting, the OECD released its Economic Outlook, which forecasts sustained, strong growth for Canada in 2011 and 2012. The OECD also released its Your Better Life Index, a new interactive tool to measure the well-being of countries above and beyond their GDPs. Canada scores at the top or near the top in every sector considered.

“We are pleased that the results of this new approach to measuring well-being once again demonstrate that Canada is a great place in which to live, work and invest,” added Minister Fast. “Canada is a strong supporter of the OECD and we wish to recognize its contribution to sustainable economic growth over the last 50 years. As we look forward to the next 50 years, we will need to further strengthen the OECD’s engagement with powerful, fast-growing economies such as China, India and Brazil.”

The Harper government has concluded agreements with eight countries and is currently negotiating with close to 50 others, including free trade negotiations with two of the world’s largest economies: the European Union (EU) and India. Negotiations with the EU, Canada’s most significant trade initiative since the North American Free Trade Agreement, will help expand trade, open doors for Canadian exporters, encourage economic growth and create jobs.

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