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Canada and U.S. Need to Pursue Asia-Pacific Markets Together, Minister Fast Says in Address to American Chamber of Commerce

Canada’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership will benefit hard-working Canadians and Americans alike, says Minister

May 17, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today said in a speech to members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ottawa that Canada and the United States must deepen their own bilateral trade while also working together to pursue new opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region.

“In order to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadian workers, businesses and families, our government is currently undertaking the most ambitious pro-trade plan in Canada’s history,” said Minister Fast. “But, of course, we continue to be focused on how to deepen trade and investment with our largest and most important trading partner, the United States.”

Minister Fast highlighted two major initiatives in which Canada and the United States are currently working together to grow the prosperity-generating trade that supports families on both sides of the border. He cited the Border Action Plan, which aims to improve the flow of people and goods, and the Joint Regulatory Cooperation Council, a means to better align the two countries’ regulatory approaches by ensuring unnecessary regulations and growth-stifling red tape are removed.

“Last year, our two-way trade exceeded $700 billion,” said Minister Fast. “That’s over $1.9 billion a day or $1.3 million every single minute. These numbers represent jobs—2.4 million here in Canada and 8 million in the U.S. Deeper trade will create more jobs and prosperity on both sides of the border at a time when they are needed most.

“Our highly integrated economies and the competitive advantages fuelled by our supply chains are even more reason we should be working together, particularly as we pursue new opportunities in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region.”

Minister Fast said that is why it is important for Canada to join negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement at the earliest opportunity, pointing to Canadian and American like-mindedness on a range of issues, including labour, investment and regulatory cooperation.

“Our government will continue to take steps to make the Canada-U.S. partnership—the world’s greatest free trade success story—even stronger in the years ahead. That is why I spend more time in the U.S. promoting trade than I spend in any other country,” said Minister Fast. “The dynamic ties between Canada and the United States make us natural trading partners, and that’s why we can and should build the TPP together to ensure it is a high-standard agreement that benefits workers and families in both our countries, just as NAFTA has.”

Canada’s largest diplomatic and trade network in a single country is located in the United States.

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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

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade

Backgrounder - Strengthening the Canada-U.S. Advantage

The Canadian and U.S. governments are working to make it easier for Canadian and U.S. companies to do business with one another. Some recent initiatives that aim to achieve this include:

  • As part of the commitments included in the Beyond the Border Action Plan relating to the facilitation of the conduct of cross-border business, the Canadian and U.S. governments will jointly hold consultations with stakeholders in both Canada and the United States. Stakeholder comments regarding commitments, as well as recommendations for additional improvements, will also be accepted online until June 15, 2012.
  • The Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council released its Action Plan in December of last year. Solutions to regulatory issues included in the plan will strive to incorporate permanent and lasting measures to maintain new levels of cooperation and alignment into the future. Business will benefit from a reduction or elimination of unnecessary or duplicative regulatory and administrative requirements leading to lower costs and ultimately contributing to more efficient trade and increased competitive conditions.
  • In Canada, a pilot project will be launched later this year involving marine cargo arriving at the Port of Prince Rupert destined for the United States by rail and marine cargo arriving at Montréal destined for the United States by truck. An advance cargo security-screening program approved by both countries will help expedite cargo transportation.
  • Canada and the United States are also making it easier for frequent travellers to cross the border. Recently, the Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that they are increasing benefits to the trusted NEXUS traveller program and streamlining the membership renewal process.
  • A recent announcement by the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment, concerning new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty vehicles is being embraced by Canadian vehicle manufacturers as important for the integrated North American vehicle-manufacturing business. The governments continue to look at ways to remove unnecessary differences in the two countries’ regulatory requirements that cost money and compromise economic growth and job creation.
  • The Government of Canada will continue to cut red tape for small businesses, so that they can focus on what they do best: sustaining the economic recovery by creating jobs and growth in communities across Canada. The Red Tape Reduction Commission tackled one of the most persistent barriers to business competitiveness: unnecessary administrative burdens and paperwork. The Government of Canada is carefully studying the commission’s recommendations in order to develop its action plan for reducing red tape. A “one for one” rule, which came into force on April 1, 2012, will help control the administrative burden on business. This rule is about controlling the costs that irritate business the most—the time and money spent filling out forms and sending them to the government.
  • The Harper government has eliminated more than 1,800 tariffs, including all tariffs on imported machinery, equipment and manufacturing inputs, making Canada the first tariff-free zone in the G-20 for manufacturers.

Some recent business achievements, facilitated by Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service, demonstrate the continued strength of the Canada-U.S. relationship:

  • IBM Canada is partnering with several leading Ontario universities to build a $210-million virtual research and development centre. The IBM Canada Research and Development Centre will create 145 new, highly skilled jobs as well as related supporting infrastructure.
  • Arkadium, a game-development company headquartered in New York City with some 150 employees, will expand the size of its Toronto mobile gaming development centre (opened in May 2011) to 10 employees. This expansion will require new, highly skilled employees, such as software developers, programmers and engineers.
  • Gameview Studios, the U.S. subsidiary of DeNA Co., Ltd., an international Japanese gaming company, has established a studio in Vancouver. The studio will employ 40 developers to support Gameview operations in Silicon Valley. Gameview is aiming to capitalize on the talents of engineers and designers graduating from British Columbia’s schools.
  • GameHouse Canada, a division of Seattle’s RealNetworks, Inc., announced plans to expand its facility in Victoria. The expansion will effectively double the company’s staff—to 45—and triple its office space.
  • Medtronic CryoCath announced growth of its research, training and manufacturing operations in Montréal, which will add up to 205 new jobs at the company’s two facilities in the city with a $50-million investment.
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Medicago USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Medicago Inc., headquartered in the city of Québec, a US$21-million grant to provide scalable manufacturing of its unique plant-expressed vaccines in the United States under a technology investment agreement. As part of that agreement, the company will develop a 90,000 square-foot facility in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina.