Harper Government Highlights Benefits for Saskatchewan 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 Saskatchewan residents, say Minister of State Yelich and Member of Parliament Hoback

April 27, 2012 - The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification), and Randy Hoback, Member of Parliament for Prince Albert, today joined federal ministers across the country in highlighting the benefits of a potential trade agreement with the European Union. The two held events at local businesses in Saskatchewan’s important scientific research and development and agriculture sectors 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 Saskatchewan’s workers and businesses,” said Minister Yelich at the Canadian Light Source Inc. facility in Saskatoon, the only synchrotron light source in Canada. “A Canada-EU trade agreement will produce success for the scientific research and development sector and directly benefit workers and families who rely on it here in Saskatchewan.”

MP Hoback attended an event at CanMar Grain Products Ltd., a world leader in the production of golden roasted flaxseed products, in Regina.

“The agriculture sector is an important pillar of Saskatchewan’s economy, and it is a sector that will greatly benefit from an ambitious trade agreement with the European Union. In fact, almost 40,000 residents of Saskatchewan and their families depend on the agriculture sector for their livelihood,” said MP Hoback. “Lowering barriers would increase sales of Saskatchewan’s world-class agriculture sector in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers, which would directly benefit residents of Saskatchewan through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.”  

“Better access to the EU market would mean a better bottom line for Canadian farmers and ranchers,” said the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “An ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement will increase access for Canadian beef, wheat, canola and pulses, boosting Saskatchewan's agricultural exports to the EU, which were more than $700 million annually on average over the last few years.”

“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.

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A backgrounder detailing the benefits for Saskatchewan 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 Saskatchewan of a Potential Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working Saskatchewan residents

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 four times the number of jobs currently in the city of Prince Albert to the Canadian economy.

Many of Saskatchewan’s key sectors would benefit from an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement:

Agriculture

  • This sector employs approximately 39,500 people in Saskatchewan.
  • Agriculture is Saskatchewan’s largest export sector to the EU, with exports worth an average of $706.5 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • An ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement would lock in permanent duty-free access on key Saskatchewan interests, such as wheat, oilseeds and pulses.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Saskatchewan’s world-class agricultural products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working residents of Saskatchewan through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Scientific instruments

  • This sector employs approximately 130 people in Saskatchewan.
  • Exports of scientific instruments from Saskatchewan to the EU were worth an average of $2.9 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on scientific instruments average 2.7 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Saskatchewan’s scientific instruments in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working residents of Saskatchewan through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Services

  • The services sector, overall, employs nearly 370,000 people in Saskatchewan.
  • The services sector is a key driver of Saskatchewan’s economy, accounting for 61 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 Saskatchewan 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.
  • Saskatchewan businesses currently have investment interests in the EU in a variety of sectors, including agriculture, mining, energy, and information and communication technologies.
  • Putting predictable investment rules in place and guaranteeing access to EU markets will help to create a level playing field for Saskatchewan’s investors and businesses and reduce risks associated with investing abroad. This would help create jobs and long-term prosperity for hard-working residents of Saskatchewan.

Government procurement

  • Workers in Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada employed in fields such as engineering, architecture and technology would 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 Saskatchewan’s economy.