Deeper Canada-EU Trade Will Bring Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity to Hard-working Canadians

An ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement will benefit workers, businesses and families in every region of Canada, Minister Fast says

April 27, 2012 – The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today told the Economic Club of Canada that an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement will be the cornerstone of the Harper government’s ambitious pro-trade plan, and that benefits will be generated for hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Minister Fast’s keynote address to the Economic Club of Canada is the official launch of 18 events being held today in every province. Harper government ministers, parliamentary secretaries and members of parliament are meeting with workers, business and community leaders and stakeholders to highlight the range of benefits an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement will bring to all regions of Canada across many sectors of the Canadian economy.

“A trade agreement with Europe is by far the most ambitious trade initiative in our nation’s history, with the potential to be broader in scope and deeper in ambition than the historic North American Free Trade Agreement,” said Minister Fast. “Whether you are a fisherman, farmer, manufacturer or high-tech worker, the benefits of an ambitious agreement to you, your family and your community will be real and significant.”

The EU is the world’s largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of over $17 trillion. A joint Canada-EU study found that an ambitious trade agreement with the European Union will benefit Canadian workers and businesses significantly, by boosting bilateral trade by 20 percent and increasing Canada’s economy by $12 billion annually. That translates to an increase of $1,000 to the average Canadian family’s income, or 80,000 new jobs across the country.

In order to ensure Canadians have the facts about the benefits that would be generated by a Canada-EU comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA), the Harper government also launched today a CETA-focused website as a continuation of what have been the most transparent and collaborative trade negotiations Canada has ever conducted.

“Unfortunately, anti-trade activists continue to spread falsehoods about trade,” said Minister Fast. “These are the same falsehoods spread about the NAFTA negotiations a generation ago by the same groups. They were proven wrong then, and they are just as wrong now. We must fight their fear-mongering with facts, and their falsehoods with reality.”

Minister Fast concluded his speech by stating clearly that the Harper government remains squarely focused on what matters to Canadians: jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Deepening Canada’s trading relationships with lucrative markets like the EU are key to these efforts.

“Where others think Canada should turn inward and cower in fear of the global economy, our government rejects this view because we know that the best way to create jobs and prosperity is to embrace the global economy, and put our goods, services, expertise and Canadians themselves to work around the world,” said Minister Fast. “The foundation of the most ambitious free trade plan in Canada’s history will be solidified with an ambitious agreement with the EU.”

In less than six years, the Harper government has concluded free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama, the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein and, most recently Honduras. It is also in negotiation with many others, including India and Japan.

For more information on the benefits of an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement, 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:

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
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade

Backgrounder – Canada and the European Union: Toward a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

Cross-country events that highlight benefits of deeper Canada-EU trade

On Friday, April 27, 2012, Harper government ministers, parliamentary secretaries and members of parliament are meeting with workers, business and community leaders and stakeholders to highlight the range of benefits an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement will bring to all regions of Canada across many sectors of the Canadian economy. Below is a complete list of the events:

1. The Honourable Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and regional minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, will be in St. John’s to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the manufacturing sector.

2. The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, will be in New Annan, Prince Edward Island, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the agricultural sector.

3. The Honourable Gerald Keddy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and for the Atlantic Gateway, will be in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the shipping industry.

4. The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, will be in Cap-Pelé, New Brunswick, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the fish and seafood sector.

5. The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie), will be in Edmundston, New Brunswick, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the wood and wood products sector.

6. Senator Pierre Claude Nolin will be in Montréal, Quebec, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on shipping and other export-related industries.

7. The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture), will be in the city of Québec to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the wood and wood products sector and Canada’s world-class pork industry.

8. The Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, will be in Huntsville, Ontario, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the automotive vehicles and parts sector.

9. The Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, will be in Toronto, Ontario, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the services sector, including financial services.

10. The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, will be in Kitchener, Ontario, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the research and development services sector.

11. The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour, will be in London, Ontario, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the advanced manufacturing sector.

12. The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, will be in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the livestock processing industry.

13. The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification), will be in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the research and development and high-technology sectors.

14. Randy Hoback, Member of Parliament for Prince Albert, will be in Regina, Saskatchewan, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the grain, pulse and oilseed industry.

15. The Honourable Ted Menzies, Minister of State (Finance), will be in Calgary, Alberta, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the energy services sector.

16. The Honourable Rob Merrifield, Chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade, will be in Spruce Grove, Alberta, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on Canada’s world-class beef industry.

17. The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, will be in Vancouver, British Columbia, to highlight the benefits to workers and families who rely on the fish and seafood and renewable energy sectors.

Negotiations

Canada and the European Union are currently negotiating a historic economic partnership to the benefit of hard-working 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 the provinces and territories, developed ambitious objectives for the negotiations. Canada and the EU agreed to negotiate a second-generation agreement 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, services, rules of origin, intellectual property and many others.

Canada and the European Union have completed nine productive rounds of negotiations toward a comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA). Both Canada and the EU are committed to an ambitious outcome to the negotiations and are down to focused sessions where solutions to the remaining issues are being actively explored.

With more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of over $17 trillion, 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 (behind only the United States). Notwithstanding current tariff barriers, two-way trade in goods and services exceeded $116 billion in 2011, an increase of more than 11 percent over the previous year.

The investment relationship is also strong. At the end of 2011, the stock of Canadian direct investment in the European Union totalled more than $172 billion, while the stock of EU direct investment in Canada totalled more than $160 billion.

In October 2008, the European Union and Canada released a 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 GDP by $12 billion annually, and two-way trade with Europe could increase by 20 percent.

The negotiations with the European Union are the most transparent and collaborative trade negotiations Canada has ever conducted.

Canadian provinces and territories are closely involved in these negotiations, and their representatives have attended negotiating sessions in areas that fall in whole or in part under their jurisdiction. Moreover, the Government of Canada is closely consulting the provinces and territories on all issues during the negotiations.

Federal, provincial and territorial governments have all recognized the benefits an ambitious agreement would bring to every region of Canada, stating in a joint communiqué that “there is no more important Canadian trade negotiating priority today than the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.”

From the beginning, municipalities have been consulted regularly, and continue to be involved with Canada’s negotiating team.

The private sector in both the EU and Canada has shown strong support for an ambitious CETA, including in ongoing consultations undertaken on both sides of the Atlantic. The business community 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 ambitious agreement is expected to benefit many sectors of the Canadian economy, including aerospace, chemicals, plastics, aluminum, wood products, fish and seafood, manufacturing, automotive vehicles and parts, agricultural products, transportation, financial services, renewable energy, information and communication technologies, engineering, computer services and many others.

In less than six years, the Harper government has concluded free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama, the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein and, most recently Honduras. It is also in negotiation with many others, including India and Japan.