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Canada and European Union Wrap Up Ninth Round of Historic Free Trade Negotiations
A Canada-EU trade agreement will create jobs and prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers and their families
(No. 312 - October 20, 2011 – 2:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced that a productive ninth round of talks toward a trade agreement between Canada and the European Union will wrap up tomorrow in Ottawa.
“I am pleased to report that another milestone has been reached in Canada-EU trade negotiations, with Canadian and EU officials exchanging offers on services and investment,” said Minister Fast. “Once final, this agreement will protect and strengthen the long-term financial security of hard-working Canadians. With one in five Canadian jobs dependent on trade, a trade agreement with the European Union has the potential to benefit Canada enormously: a 20-percent boost in bilateral trade, a $12-billion annual increase to Canada’s economy, almost 80,000 new jobs, and an extra $1,000 for the average Canadian family.”
Canada and the European Union have now held nine successful negotiating rounds since October 2009. To date, significant progress has been achieved across the board, including in the core market access areas of goods, services, investment and government procurement.
“While some issues still need to be resolved, negotiations are now well-advanced and solutions to them are being actively explored,” said Minister Fast. “As we enter the next phase of negotiations, our government will continue to vigorously defend Canadian interests to ensure any agreement we conclude benefits Canadian businesses, workers and their families.”
A Canada-EU trade agreement will benefit Canadian workers in many sectors of the Canadian economy, including manufacturing, aerospace, chemicals, plastics, aluminum, wood products, and fish and seafood, as well as other commodity- and resource-based businesses, and many others.
“In these challenging economic times, a trade agreement with the European Union will bring jobs and prosperity to Canadians,” added Minister Fast. “Our government received a strong mandate to implement an ambitious job-creating, low-tax, pro-trade plan that will secure Canada’s economic recovery. We are following through on a plan that meets these economic challenges, a plan that is working.”
In less than six years, Canada has concluded new free trade agreements with nine countries: Colombia, Jordan, Panama, Peru, the European Free Trade Association member states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, and most recently with Honduras.
For more information on the negotiations, please visit Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Negotiations.
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A backgrounder follows.
For further information, media representatives may contact:
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
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade
Backgrounder - Canada and the European Union: Toward a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
Canada and the European Union are currently negotiating a historic economic partnership to the benefit of Canadians and Europeans alike. This effort began at the Canada-EU Summit in Prague on May 6, 2009, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and then European Union president Mirek Topolánek announced the launch of negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement.
The Government of Canada, in consultation with Canadian stakeholders and provinces and territories, developed an ambitious objective for the negotiations. Canada and the EU agreed to negotiate in a wide range of areas, covering trade in goods (including agriculture, fish and industrial products), non-tariff barriers (including regulatory standards), investment, government procurement, intellectual property, and many others.
Canada and the European Union have held eight successful rounds of negotiations since the start of talks in October 2009. To date, significant progress has been achieved across the board, including in the core market access areas of goods, services, investment, government procurement and many others.
The EU is the world’s largest importer and exporter of goods and services. Economic relations between the EU and Canada are long-standing. As a single market, the EU is Canada’s second most important partner for trade and investment (after the United States). Two-way merchandise trade reached $82.5 billion in 2010, up from $75 billion in 2009.
The investment relationship is also strong. In 2010, Canada was the European Union’s fourth-largest source of foreign direct investment. At the end of 2010, the stock of known Canadian direct investment in the European Union totalled more than $145 billion.
In October 2008, the EU and Canada released their joint study “Assessing the Costs and Benefits of a Closer EU-Canada Economic Partnership.” The study shows that a stronger economic partnership could boost Canadian gross domestic product by $12 billion annually, and two-way trade with Europe could increase by $38 billion.
Canadian provinces and territories are closely involved in these negotiations, including attending negotiating sessions in areas that fall in whole or in part under their jurisdictions. Moreover, the Government of Canada is closely consulting the provinces and territories on all issues during the negotiations.
The private sector in both the EU and Canada has shown strong support for an ambitious and comprehensive economic agreement, including in ongoing consultations undertaken by both parties. This sector believes that, in addition to the significant benefits to be achieved, advancing a closer economic partnership would send a powerful pro-growth signal to investors and businesses within the EU and Canada as well as internationally.
An agreement would be expected to benefit many sectors of the Canadian economy, including aerospace, chemicals, plastics, aluminum, wood products, fish and seafood, automotive vehicles and parts, agricultural products, transportation, financial services, renewable energy, information and communication technologies, engineering, computer services and many others.
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