Harper Government Highlights Benefits for Ontario 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 Ontarians, say federal ministers

April 27, 2012 - The Honourable Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour, and the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, today joined other federal ministers across the country in highlighting the benefits of a potential trade agreement with the European Union. They held events at local businesses in Ontario’s important manufacturing, financial services, chemicals and plastics, and research and development 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 Ontario’s workers and businesses,” said Minister Clement at MBRP Inc., a leader in automotive exhaust technology and manufacturing, in Huntsville. “Nearly 795,000 hard-working Ontarians and their families depend on the manufacturing 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 Ontario.”

At an event at the TMX Broadcast Centre studio, Minister Oliver highlighted the benefits of a potential agreement for Ontario’s financial services sector.

“The financial services sector is an important pillar of Ontario’s economy that would benefit from an ambitious trade agreement with the European Union,” said Minister Oliver. “A free trade deal with Europe would provide Canadian companies with enhanced, more predictable and secure access to the EU services market, which is worth almost $1.4 trillion.”

Minister Raitt participated in a London event at Lamko Tool & Mold Inc., a leading manufacturer of high-quality molds and specialty dies.

“The elimination of EU tariffs on chemicals and plastics, currently averaging 4.9 percent, would give exporting businesses in this vital sector preferred access and a competitive edge,” said Minister Raitt. “With 87,000 Ontario jobs depending on this sector, increased access to the EU market would result in strengthened prosperity for Ontarians and their families.”

In Kitchener-Waterloo, Minister Van Loan held an event at Intelligent Mechatronic Systems, which specializes in the research and development of innovative solutions in the areas of telematics, automotive safety and mobile media.

“Almost 25,000 Ontarians and their families depend on the research and development services sector for their livelihood,” said Minister Van Loan. “Ontario’s research and development industry is world class, and our companies can compete with anybody in the world. Lowering tariffs will provide greater access to the lucrative European Union market, directly benefiting hard-working Ontarians through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.”

“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 Ontario 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 Ontario of a Potential Canada-EU Trade Agreement

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

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 GDP.

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 the number of jobs currently in the city of Kingston to the Canadian economy.

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

Agriculture

  • This sector employs more than 92,000 Ontarians.
  • Agricultural products are a significant exporting sector for Ontario to the EU, with exports worth an average of almost $500 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • An ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement would lock in permanent duty-free access on key Ontario interests, such as oilseeds and pulses.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Ontario’s world-class agricultural products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Ontarians through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Electronics

  • This sector employs more than 41,500 Ontarians.
  • Electronics is a significant sector for Ontario, with exports to the EU averaging $1.3 billion annually between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on Canadian electronics average 3 percent, with peaks of 14 percent. These high tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Ontario’s businesses, workers and their families.

Chemicals and plastics

  • This sector employs more than 87,000 Ontarians.
  • The chemicals and plastics industry is one of Ontario’s top exporting sectors to the EU, with exports worth an average of $1.1 billion annually between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on 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 Ontario’s world-class chemical and plastic products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Ontarians through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Industrial machinery

  • This sector employs more than 5,500 Ontarians.
  • Industrial machinery is a significant exporting sector for Ontario to the EU, with exports worth an average of $533 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on industrial machinery average 2.1 percent, with peaks of 8 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Ontario’s world-class industrial machinery in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Ontarians through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Services

  • The services sector, overall, employs more than 4.5 million Ontarians.
  • The services sector is a key driver of Ontario’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 Ontario 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.
  • Ontario businesses currently have significant investments in the EU in a wide variety of sectors, including agriculture, automotive, financial services, renewable energy, transportation, and information and communications technology.
  • Putting predictable investment rules in place and guaranteeing access to EU markets will help create a level playing field for Ontario’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 Ontarians.

Government procurement

  • Workers in Ontario 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 Ontario’s economy.