World’s Third-Largest Economy an Important Trading Partner for Canada

Parliamentary secretaries make trade visit to Japan to deepen trade and investment ties

May 19, 2012 - Gerald Keddy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and for the Atlantic Gateway, and Pierre Lemieux, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, were in Japan on May 18 and 19, 2012, to strengthen Canada’s trade and investment ties while also helping Canadian businesses advance their economic interests.

“Our government’s pro-trade plan is helping to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadian workers, businesses and families,” said Mr. Keddy. A trade agreement with Japan, the world’s third-largest national economy, is part of that plan and would deepen our already strong trade and investment ties, and benefit workers and families in both countries.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan, announced the launch of negotiations toward a free trade agreement during Prime Minister Harper’s visit to Japan in March 2012. The initiative was launched following the release of the Canada-Japan Joint Study, which found that a free trade agreement with Japan could increase Canada’s GDP by almost US$4 billion and boost Canadian exports to Japan by up to 67 percent.

During their visit, parliamentary secretaries Keddy and Lemieux spoke with public- and private-sector leaders about opportunities for strengthening commercial ties, especially in agriculture, seafood, and science and technology. They also discussed how Canada and Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations would complement a free trade agreement between the two countries, while also contributing to Canada’s increasing economic engagement with Asia.

“Canadians are more aware than ever of the importance of Asia to our future prosperity and growth,” said Mr. Lemieux. “We have strong ties with Japan, and we were in Japan to help expand opportunities for Canadian workers and businesses.”

“Canada believes that partnerships—not protectionism—hold the key to lasting job creation and prosperity in Japan and Canada alike,” said Mr. Keddy. “In this fragile global economic climate, Canadians remain concerned about their jobs and their children’s future. Our government has a plan to meet these challenges—a plan that is working.”

In 2011, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Japan was valued at $23.7 billion. In the same year, Japan was Canada’s fifth-largest merchandise trading partner and Canada’s single largest source of foreign direct investment from Asia.

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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
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