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Minister Fast Says EU Trade Deal Would Benefit P.E.I. Workers and Their Families

Expanding Canada’s trading relationships is key to creating jobs and opportunity for Canadians

(No. 266 - September 15, 2011 - 2:10 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today met with workers from Cavendish Farms and toured the company’s potato processing plant in New Annan, P.E.I. The Minister also held a round table with members of P.E.I.’s business community, including potato growers, producers and exporters, during which the discussion focused on the economy, current trade negotiations with the European Union and the Harper government’s ambitious job-creating, pro-trade plan.

“With one in five Canadian jobs directly or indirectly dependent on trade, expanding Canada’s trading relationships is crucial to protecting and strengthening the financial security of hard-working Canadians,” said Minister Fast. “A Canada-EU trade agreement has the potential to create 80,000 new jobs, boost Canada’s economy by $12 billion annually and give sectors in Atlantic Canada that families rely on for their livelihood preferential access to a market with 500 million consumers.”

Sectors in P.E.I. that will benefit from increased access to the EU market include potato products—an export market that was worth $252.6 million last year—and the fish and seafood sector. Under a Canada-EU trade agreement, Canada is seeking to completely eliminate tariffs on all fish and seafood products. These tariffs currently average 11 percent but are as high as 25 percent on some products. The European Union is the largest fish import market in the world, valued in excess of US$24 billion annually.

“Lower costs for Canadian firms doing business in the European Union will allow them to increase wages and benefits and hire more workers,” said Minister Fast. “We know that businesses that succeed abroad create jobs and prosperity here at home and that is why we will continue to deepen Canada’s trading relationships.”

“A new agreement with European Union countries would represent significant opportunities for exporters in Atlantic Canada to develop new markets,” said Robert Irving, President of Cavendish Farms. “Canada’s July 2009 agreement with Iceland is a very positive recent example that has seen our shipments to this country double. We welcome Canada’s efforts to expand the access of local businesses to new global markets.”

In less than six years, the Harper government has concluded free trade agreements with nine countries: Colombia, Honduras, Jordan, Panama, Peru and the four members of the European Free Trade Association.

Canada is also in discussion with many more countries, including India—one of the largest, most promising markets in the world.

“In this fragile economic recovery, we know history has shown protectionist measures stall growth and kill jobs,” said Minister Fast. “Our government is committed to delivering free trade leadership, and Canadians can count on us to defend free and open trade on the world stage.”

For more information on Minister Fast’s visit to Atlantic Canada, please visit A Canada-EU trade agreement will boost Atlantic Canada’s economy.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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