Harper Government Highlights Benefits for Prince Edward Island of a Potential Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Deeper trade with the European Union will bring good jobs, growth and long-term prosperity to hard-working Islanders, says Minister Shea

April 27, 2012 - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, today joined federal ministers across the country in highlighting the benefits of a potential trade agreement with the European Union. The Minister held an event at a local business in Prince Edward Island’s important agriculture sector to highlight the benefits a Canada-EU trade agreement would generate for Canadian workers and their families.

“Our government is focused on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. An ambitious agreement with the European Union will be a big win for Prince Edward Island workers and businesses,” said Minister Shea today at Cavendish Farms in New Annan. “About 3,700 hard-working Islanders and their families depend on the agriculture sector for their livelihood. A Canada-EU trade agreement will produce success for this critical sector and directly benefit workers and families who rely on it here in PEI.”

“More than 60 percent of Canada’s annual income (gross domestic product) and the jobs of one in five Canadians are generated by trade,” said the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, in a keynote address today to the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa. The Minister’s address was among several events being held across the country to highlight the benefits of the Canada-EU trade agreement currently under negotiation.

“An ambitious trade agreement with the European Union would generate significant benefits for hard-working Canadians in every region of our country,” said Minister Fast. “It would bring a 20-percent boost in bilateral trade and a $12-billion annual increase to Canada’s economy. That translates to an increase of $1,000 to the average Canadian family’s income, or 80,000 new jobs.”

The EU is Canada’s second-largest trading partner and the world’s largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of over $17 trillion. The ongoing trade negotiations with the EU represent Canada’s most significant trade initiative since the historic North American Free Trade Agreement.

- 30 –

A backgrounder detailing the benefits for Prince Edward Island of a potential Canada-EU trade agreement 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 - Benefits for Prince Edward Island of a Potential Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working Islanders

An ambitious trade agreement with the European Union would be of significant benefit to Canada, resulting in a 20-percent boost in bilateral trade and a $12-billion increase in Canada’s annual income (gross domestic product).

That translates to an increase of $1,000 to the average Canadian family’s income, or 80,000 new Canadian jobs—which is like adding twice the number of jobs currently in Charlottetown and Summerside to the Canadian economy.

Many of Prince Edward Island’s key sectors would benefit from a Canada-EU trade agreement:

Agriculture

  • This sector employs approximately 3,700 Islanders.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, P.E.I. exported an annual average of $5.3-million worth of agricultural products to the EU.
  • An ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement would lock in permanent duty-free access on key P.E.I. export interests, such as, frozen blueberries, frozen french fries and potato flakes and could provide new export opportunities for P.E.I. for processed foods.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of P.E.I.’s world-class agricultural products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Islanders through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Fish and seafood

  • This sector employs nearly 3,900 Islanders.
  • Prince Edward Island’s main exports to the EU are fish and seafood products. Between 2009 and 2011, P.E.I. exported an annual average of $19.6-million worth of fish and seafood products to the EU.
  • The EU is the world’s largest fish and seafood market, with a global import market averaging $25 billion annually during 2009-2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood products average 11 percent, with peaks of 25 percent. These high tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of P.E.I’s world-class fish and seafood products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit P.E.I. through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Chemicals and plastics

  • The chemicals and plastics industry is a growing sector for P.E.I., with exports to the EU worth an average of $2.3 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on chemical and plastic products average 4.9 percent. These tariff barriers could be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of P.E.I.’s world-class chemical and plastic products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Islanders through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Services

  • The services sector, overall, employs nearly 54,000 Islanders.
  • The services sector is a key driver of P.E.I.’s economy, accounting for 76 percent of the province’s total GDP in 2010.
  • In 2010, the EU’s services import market totalled $1.4 trillion.
  • Current EU trade barriers on Canadian services are citizenship or residency requirements, lack of temporary entry rules, and ownership and investment restrictions. These trade barriers would be reduced under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement, directly benefiting businesses and workers in this vital P.E.I. sector

Investment

  • Direct investment by Canadian companies in the EU totalled almost $173 billion in 2011, representing over 25 percent of Canadian direct investment abroad. The same year, direct investment by European companies in Canada totalled almost $161 billion, representing over 26 percent of total foreign investment in Canada.
  • P.E.I. businesses currently have significant investments in the EU in a wide variety of sectors, including fish and seafood, manufacturing, building products and bioscience.
  • Putting predictable investment rules in place and guaranteeing access to EU markets will help create a level playing field for P.E.I.’s investors and businesses and reduce the risks associated with investing abroad. This would lead to greater two-way investment, which would help create jobs and long-term prosperity for hard-working Islanders.

Government procurement

  • Workers in Prince Edward Island and the rest of Canada employed in fields such as engineering, architecture and technology could benefit from greater access to the EU’s procurement market, which is worth an estimated $2.4 trillion.
  • Greater access to the world’s largest procurement market would benefit workers and their families in sectors that are vital to P.E.I.’s economy.