Minister Fast Welcomes WTO Report Praising Canada’s Strong Economic Performance

WTO also commends Canada’s aggressive pro-trade plan

(No. 170 - June 20, 2011 - 9:40 a.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today welcomed the World Trade Organization (WTO) report on Canada’s trade policy. The report, entitled Trade Policy Review: Canada, praises Canada’s strong economic performance in weathering the global recession without resorting to protectionist trade measures.

According to the report, “since its last review in 2007, Canada has taken steps to further improve the productivity and competitiveness of its economy, including through unilateral trade liberalization… Driven by a strong and dynamic services sector (almost 80 percent of GDP), as well as rich endowments in natural resources, the Canadian economy is quite diversified.”

“Canada has one of the world’s strongest and most open economies, based on sound low-tax policies and free market fundamentals,” said Minister Fast. “Based on these principles, the WTO report underscores the pivotal role Canada’s Economic Action Plan played in helping Canadians weather and combat the effects of the global recession.”

The report also says Canada’s Global Commerce Strategy “has prompted the government to more vigorously pursue trade, investment, and air services agreements,” and notes that “Canada’s considerably expanded FTA [free trade agreement] agenda marks a departure with its past practice.”

“Since 2006, we have signed free trade agreements with eight countries, and negotiations covering some 50 more are under way,” added Minister Fast. “We are pursuing these agreements because our government understands that Canadians’ standard of living and future prosperity depend on deepening and broadening our trading relationships.”

All WTO members periodically undergo an assessment of their trade policies. This year’s review takes place on June 20 and 22, 2011, at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland. The report is produced as part of this review.

“One in five Canadian jobs is dependent on exports,” said Minister Fast. “To protect and strengthen the financial security of hard-working Canadians, we will continue to pursue a low-tax, free trade plan, and we are pleased to see the WTO has acknowledged the merits of this approach.”

The WTO report is available online at Trade Policy Review: Canada.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Adam Taylor
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
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