Minister Fast Highlights Prosperity-Generating Benefits of Canada’s Inclusion in Trans-Pacific Partnership Talks

Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians alike would benefit from Canada’s involvement, Minister hears

May 3, 2012 – As part of ongoing visits to all current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries, the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today concluded a week-long trade visit to Australia and New Zealand. 

“As a Pacific nation, Canada’s interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership is consistent with our active, ongoing and growing presence in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Minister Fast. “In my visits to, now, eight of the nine current TPP member countries, I noted that Canada is being recognized as a valuable partner to join the negotiations. In my discussions with trade ministers Craig Emerson in Australia and Tim Groser in New Zealand, we agreed that deepening our trade and investment ties would bring prosperity-generating benefits to hard-working people in all three of our countries and that our shared values and commitment to free and open trade would make Canada a highly valued and natural partner in the TPP negotiations.”

Several leading business groups in both countries, including the Business Council of Australia, declared their support for Canada’s entry into the TPP negotiations.

Minister Fast highlighted the fact that Canada, along with Australia and New Zealand, has been a strong voice against protectionism on the world stage, including at the recent G-20 and WTO meetings.

“Like Australia and New Zealand, Canada is a free trade leader and is taking real action to promote free and open trade,” said Minister Fast. “Since 2009, our government has eliminated more than 1,800 tariff items and provided more than $435 million in annual tariff relief to Canadian businesses. By 2015, Canada will be the first tariff-free zone in the G-20 for manufacturers, and we have removed the monopoly power of the Canadian Wheat Board. Simply put, Canada is one of the most open economies in the world, and our actions demonstrate that when Canada says it seeks a high level of ambition in its trade negotiations, and that we can meet or exceed the level current TPP members are striving for, we mean it.”

In Wellington, together with New Zealand’s Minister of Revenue Peter Dunne, Minister Fast signed a renewed double taxation agreement. This agreement will contribute to the elimination of tax barriers to trade and investment between Canada and New Zealand, help solidify bilateral economic links, and is consistent with the Harper government’s long-standing commitment to seek out new investment and trade opportunities for Canadians, including the TPP.

“All TPP members have welcomed Canada’s interest, and momentum is building in support of Canada’s entry into the TPP talks,” said Minister Fast. “In my visit this week, I welcomed the opportunity to have further discussions with my Australian and New Zealand counterparts, and I’m pleased that they recognize, as we do, that Canada would be a valuable partner at the TPP table.”

Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Australia was valued at $3.7 billion in 2011, up almost 9 percent over 2010. The stock of Canadian direct investment in Australia has doubled from $12.5 billion at the end of 2009 to $25.3 billion at the end of 2011, establishing Australia as Canada’s fifth-largest global destination for cumulative foreign direct investment abroad. The stock of Australian foreign direct investment in Canada stood at $5.6 billion at the end of 2011.

Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and New Zealand totalled $932.1 million in 2011. The stock of Canadian direct investment in New Zealand has increased substantially from $379 million at the end of 2006 to reach $912 million at the end of 2011.

Please see the backgrounder, below, for information that details ongoing efforts of the Harper government to help Canadian businesses expand and succeed abroad, as well as efforts to promote Canada as an investment destination of choice.

For more information on the visit, please consult Trade Visit to Australia and New Zealand.

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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

While in Australia and New Zealand, Minister Fast focused on Canadian successes abroad and on meeting key investors in Canada.

Australia

Minister Fast visited Brookfield’s award-winning, green-star building in Sydney. Brookfield now has 2,200 operating employees in seven locations in Australia and has more than $16 billion in assets under management.

He also met with representatives of Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP) to learn how their vehicles are being used by Sydney’s Surf Life Saving volunteers to keep beach-goers safe. The design of the Can-Am Commander SSV is Canadian and is supported by a large team of engineers and after-sales service support based in Canada. The Can-Am Spyder Roadster is designed, engineered and manufactured at BRP’s Valcourt, Quebec, operation. 

Plenary Group Pty Ltd. is the leading specialized developer of long-term public-private partnerships / alternative financing and procurement (PPP/AFP) projects in Australia and Canada. They hold a portfolio of 20 projects with a project capitalization in excess of $10 billion. Plenary Group projects have introduced a number of Canadian businesses to the Australian market, such as PCL Constructors Inc., which is involved in the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, and Australian businesses to the Canadian market, such as architectural firm Silver Thomas Hanley.

Plenary Group Canada has been successful on 10 PPP/AFP projects in Canada, with a project capitalization of over $5.3 billion.

Australia-based Macquarie Group Limited recently established a Canadian crude-oil marketing business in Calgary. The company has had a permanent and growing presence in Canada since opening its first office in 1998. With regional headquarters in Toronto, Macquarie employs approximately 1,000 people in Canada through 14 offices across the country.

New Zealand

Minister Fast highlighted recent Canada-New Zealand investment successes, including Canadian Helicopters Group Inc.’s $120-million acquisition of Helicopters (NZ) Limited.

Minister Fast praised the successes of Canadian companies currently operating in New Zealand, such as clothing company Lululemon Athletica Inc.