Minister Fast Says Job-creating Canada-European Union Free Trade Talks Moving Forward

Free trade with EU could boost Canada’s economy by at least $12 billion, benefiting workers and employers

(No. 204 - July 15, 2011 - 8 a.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today marked the conclusion of the eighth round of Canada-European Union free trade negotiations, which took place this week in Brussels, by highlighting the progress made to date.

“I am pleased to report that officials from Canada and the EU have exchanged ambitious offers on goods and government procurement this week, and talks continue to move forward with the aim of completing negotiations by 2012,” said Minister Fast. “We are making important progress as we move closer toward an agreement that has the potential to dramatically boost two-way trade and create jobs and prosperity in all regions of Canada.”

To date, significant progress has been achieved in all negotiating areas, including goods, services, investment, government procurement and many others. As previously planned, offers on services and investment will be exchanged prior to the ninth round of negotiations, which is scheduled to take place in Ottawa in October, 2011.

“These negotiations represent our most significant trade initiative since the North American Free Trade Agreement, and while some issues still need to be resolved, our government is vigorously defending Canada’s interests to ensure that any agreement we sign benefits Canadian workers, businesses and their families,” said Minister Fast.

A Canada-EU joint economic study, released in October 2008, shows that a Canada-EU free trade agreement could boost Canadian GDP by at least $12 billion, and benefit workers in many sectors of the Canadian economy, including aerospace, chemicals, plastics, aluminum, wood products and manufacturing, as well as commodity- and resource-based businesses.

“Our government is committed to protecting and strengthening the long-term financial security of hard-working Canadians,” concluded Minister Fast. “Broadening and expanding access to more markets—like the European Union—is a key part of our job-creating, pro-trade plan.”

Since 2006, Canada has launched an ambitious trade agenda, opening doors for Canadian businesses by concluding new free trade agreements with eight countries: Colombia, Jordan, Panama, Peru and the European Free Trade Association member states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Negotiations are also under way with India, which could boost Canada’s economy by at least $6 billion.

For more information on the negotiations, please visit Eighth Round of Trade Negotiations with the European Union.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Adam Taylor
Director of Communications and Tour
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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