Harper Government Highlights Benefits for Quebec 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 Quebecers, say Minister Paradis and Senator Nolin

April 27, 2012 - The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture), and Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, 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 Quebec’s important lumber and shipping 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 Quebec’s workers and businesses,” said Minister Paradis at FPInnovations, a unique forestry innovation partnership comprising government and industry representatives, in the city of Québec. “Nearly 40,000 hard-working Quebecers and their families depend on the wood and wood products 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 Quebec.”

Senator Nolin attended an event at the Port of Montréal.

“The Port of Montréal generates thousands of jobs while providing an annual economic benefit of $1.5 billion to Quebec’s economy,” said Senator Nolin. “Montréal is a gateway of international trade, and under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement, many of Quebec’s world-class industries will benefit. The elimination of EU tariffs would grow our trade and increase prosperity, generating benefits for workers and families here in Quebec who rely on these sectors.”

“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 Quebec 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 Quebec of a Potential Canada-EU Trade Agreement

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

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 the cities of Saguenay or Trois-Rivières to the Canadian economy.

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

Agriculture

  • This sector employs approximately 57,000 Quebecers.
  • Agricultural products are the third-largest export sector for Quebec to the EU, with exports worth an average of $639.2 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • Key Quebec agricultural exports to the EU, such as maple syrup, prepared foods and preserved fruits, face high tariff rates. These high tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Quebec’s world-class agricultural products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Quebecers through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Aluminum

  • This sector employs more than 9,000 Quebecers.
  • With exports worth an average of $522.5 million a year between 2009 and 2011, Quebec accounts for more than 90 percent of Canadian aluminum exports to the EU, the majority of which are subject to duties.
  • The EU levies tariffs of up to 10 percent in this sector, including tariffs of between 3 and 6 percent on unwrought aluminum. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Quebec’s world-class aluminum products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Quebecers through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Chemicals and plastics

  • This sector employs almost 90,000 Quebecers.
  • Quebec exports of chemicals and plastics to the EU were worth an average of $270.9 million annually between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on Canadian chemicals and plastics average 4.9 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Quebec’s world-class chemical and plastic products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Quebecers through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Wood and wood products

  • This sector employs nearly 40,000 Quebecers.
  • Exports of wood and wood products from Quebec to the EU were worth an average of $59.6 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current tariffs on Canadian wood and wood products average 2.2 percent, with peaks of 10 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Quebec’s world-class wood and wood products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hardworking Quebecers through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Fish and seafood products

  • This sector employs more than 1,700 Quebecers.
  • Fish and seafood is an important sector for Quebec, with exports to the EU worth an average of $17.8 million between 2009 and 2011.
  • The EU is the world’s largest fish and seafood market, with its global import market averaging $25 billion annually during 2009-2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood 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 Quebecers’ world-class fish and seafood products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Quebecers through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Services

  • The services sector, overall, employs nearly 2.7 million Quebecers.
  • The services sector is a key driver of Quebec’s economy, accounting for 71 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 Quebec 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 from European companies in Canada totalled almost $161 billion, representing over 26 percent of total foreign investment in Canada.
  • Quebec businesses currently have significant investments in the EU in a wide variety of sectors, including transportation, aerospace, telecommunications, paper, and business and engineering services.
  • Putting predictable investment rules in place and guaranteeing access to EU markets will help create a level playing field for Quebec’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 Quebecers.

Government procurement

  • Workers in Quebec 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 Quebec’s economy.