International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vancouver Highlight Benefits of Canada-European Union Trade Agreement

A trade agreement with the EU will create jobs and economic growth for all regions of Canada, including British Columbia, says Minister Fast

(No. 355 - November 28, 2011 - 1:15 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to concluding an ambitious trade agreement with the European Union in an address in Vancouver to the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada - West. The Minister reiterated that broadening and deepening Canada’s trading relationship with foreign partners is a key part of the government’s job-creating, pro-trade plan.

“The European Union is Canada’s second-most-important trading partner, and the trade negotiations with the EU represent our most significant trade initiative since the North American Free Trade Agreement,” said Minister Fast. “With one in five Canadian jobs generated by trade, a trade agreement with the European Union has the potential to benefit Canada enormously: a 20-percent boost in bilateral trade and a $12-billion annual increase to Canada’s economy. That means almost 80,000 new jobs and the equivalent of almost $1,000 a year more for the average Canadian family, which would benefit all regions, including British Columbia.”

In his address, Minister Fast assured the audience that the Harper government continues to focus on the priorities of Canadians—jobs and the economy. He emphasized that when Canadian businesses succeed abroad, they create jobs and economic growth at home.

“Our government is opening new markets for Canadian workers and businesses,” said Minister Fast. “Open and free trade is the linchpin of our plan to create jobs and economic growth.”

“A trade agreement with the European Union will give Canadian businesses a competitive advantage,” said Celso Boscariol, President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada - West. “Our members welcome the government’s efforts to strengthen the transatlantic linkages that make our economies stronger.”

Canada and the European Union have held nine 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.

A Canada-EU trade agreement will benefit Canadian workers in many sectors of the Canadian economy, including agriculture, manufacturing, aerospace, chemicals, plastics, aluminum, wood products, and fish and seafood, as well as other commodity- and resource-based businesses.

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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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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