Minister Fast Promotes Most Ambitious Pro-Trade Plan in Canada’s History in Latin America and at G-20 Trade Ministers’ Meeting

Protectionism is poisonous to global recovery efforts and to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, Minister says

April 20, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today wrapped up a four-country visit to the Americas by highlighting, to participants at the first G-20 trade ministers’ meeting in Mexico, Canada’s pro-trade plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity and Canada’s value as a trading partner.

“Trade is the new stimulus,” said Minister Fast. “Canada sees this G‑20 trade ministers’ meeting as a clear recognition by Mexico and other nations that free and open trade is the best way to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for people around the world. With more than 60 percent of our economy and the jobs of one in five Canadians generated by trade, our government understands the importance of trade to Canada’s economy. That’s why we are currently undertaking the most ambitious trade expansion plan in our country’s history.”

In Chile, in the presence of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Chilean president Sebastián Piñera, Minister Fast signed an agreement to modernize the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement. He also noted that since the original Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement was implemented, bilateral trade has more than tripled and investment has quadrupled.

In Colombia and Peru, Minister Fast highlighted how recently implemented free trade agreements between Canada and the two countries—Colombia’s in 2011, Peru’s in 2009—have shown clearly how deeper trade benefits workers, businesses and families.

“Preferred access to fast-growing markets around the world like those found in Latin America gives Canadian businesses and workers a competitive edge,” said Minister Fast. “When tariff and non-tariff barriers are lowered or eliminated outright, and greater access to procurement contracts and other prosperity-creating opportunities are granted, businesses are given the stable and predictable environment they need to grow their operations. And we know that businesses that expand and succeed abroad create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity at home. And in the case of the Americas, job and prosperity creation go hand in hand with positive change and growth.”

Minister Fast also welcomed the momentum that is building in support of Canada’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, with both Chile and Peru signalling support for Canada’s inclusion.

“Simply put, Canada’s inclusion in the TPP negotiations at the earliest opportunity will help ensure any eventual agreement is ambitious, and will spread the benefits of increased trade and closer economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” concluded Minister Fast.

Seven of Canada’s 10 free trade agreements are with countries in Latin America or the Caribbean. In less than six years, the Harper government has concluded trade agreements with Colombia and Peru, and an agreement with Panama is awaiting ratification. Canada has also concluded free trade negotiations with Honduras. In addition, Canada has nine foreign-investment promotion agreements and 31 air-transport agreements with countries in the Americas, as well as two science and technology agreements.

For more information about Minister Fast’s visit to the Americas, visit Minister Fast Visits Latin America.

For more information about Prime Minister Harper’s participation in the Summit of the Americas, visit PM announces support for economic growth and development in the Americas.

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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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