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Canada Adopts Anti-protectionist Pledge at World Trade Organization

Efforts aided by Canada to adopt a strong pledge against protectionism supported by ministers from 22 WTO members

(No. 377 - December 15, 2011 - 1:40 p.m. ET) Canada’s leadership on the world stage in support of free and open trade was once again on display today as the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway helped lead efforts that resulted in a strongly worded pledge by 23 members of the World Trade Organization “to fight all forms of protectionism in the strongest terms.” Minister Fast adopted the pledge in Geneva at the start of the eighth WTO ministerial meeting, taking place there from December 15 to 17.

“In these challenging economic times, free and open trade is the best way to create jobs and economic growth for people around the world,” said Minister Fast. “The pledge adopted today builds on Canada’s strong record in opposing trade-restrictive measures that was led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the recent G-20 and APEC meetings. We must—as WTO members—continue to stand firmly against new protectionist measures and begin to roll back those already in place.”

The pledge, which Canada played an active role in getting adopted, commits its country supporters to refraining from raising new barriers to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions or implementing any measures inconsistent with the WTO. It also reaffirms compliance with WTO agreements and continued transparency and predictability in implementing measures that have an impact on trade. Lastly, it commits supporters to taking steps to roll back any protectionist measures introduced since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008.

“In these uncertain times, protectionism is poisonous to our efforts to create jobs and economic growth,” said Minister Fast. “Canada is proud to be a strong voice for free and open trade on the world stage by proudly standing behind this pledge.”

Other WTO members who took the pledge include Australia, Chile, the European Union, Thailand and the United States.

In the last five years, Canada has pursued an ambitious and active free trade plan to open doors for Canadian businesses around the world and is on the way to becoming the first tariff-free zone for manufacturing imports in the G-20. Since 2009, Canada has liberalized tariffs on 1,800 tariff lines and concluded free trade agreements with nine countries.

To view a copy of the pledge, please consult Joint Ministerial Press Statement.

For more information on the Minister’s visit to Europe and his participation in the WTO ministerial meeting in Geneva, please consult Minister Fast Visits Europe and Attends WTO Conference.

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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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