International Trade Minister Ed Fast Visits Washington to Promote Vital Importance of Canada-U.S. Trade and Defend Canadian Interests

In these challenging economic times, there is no better American job-creator than trade with Canada and vice versa, says Minister Fast

(No. 308 – October 18, 2011 – 8:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today concluded a productive two-day visit to Washington to reinforce the vital importance of a strong Canada-U.S. relationship that benefits Canadians and Americans alike. His trade visit to Washington included talks with his counterpart, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, as well as other government officials.

“History shows that deeper and stronger trade ties are key to the global economic recovery. Free and open trade ties between the U.S. and Canada are fundamental to improving the prosperity of Americans and Canadians alike,” said Minister Fast.

“Our government’s top priority is to create jobs, increase prosperity and protect and strengthen the financial security of Canadians. Broadening and expanding access to the U.S. market is a key part of our government’s job-creating, pro-trade plan.”

In their face-to-face talks, both Minister Fast and U.S. Trade Representative Kirk expressed the view that strengthening the Canada-U.S. friendship will bring greater prosperity to both countries, and that in these challenging economic times governments must work together to address common challenges.

“The importance of the Canada-U.S. trade relationship, and the jobs and prosperity it supports on both sides of our shared border, couldn’t be clearer,” said Minister Fast. “All told, the jobs of over eight million Americans depend on trade with Canada, just as over two million Canadian jobs depend on trade with the U.S.”

Minister Fast met with Senator David Vitter, Ranking Member, Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Senator John Thune, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness, Senate Committee on Finance.

Minister Fast also met with leaders of U.S. business associations, including the Coalition of Service Industries, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Foreign Trade Council, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Canadian American Business Council, as well as the Washington representative of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

“I look forward to a sustained engagement with our American friends which will continue to help long-term prosperity and economic growth to our countries’ mutual benefit,” concluded Minister Fast. “In my meetings here in Washington, our American friends and I shared the sentiment that we must do our part to ensure that the Canada-U.S. relationship, which is the envy of the world, gets even stronger as we go forward together in these challenging times.”

About $1.8 billion in goods and services cross the border between Canada and the United States every day, or about $1.2 million every minute. Over 4,500 Canadian-owned businesses in 17,000 U.S. locations directly employ over half a million Americans.

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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
613-992-7332

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