Minister Fast Promotes Canada’s Solid Economic Performance to Global Business Leaders in London

Minister meets with counterparts to discuss bilateral relations and a shared commitment to a successful Canada-EU trade agreement

August 8, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, has concluded a four-day trade and investment visit to London, where he promoted Canada’s strong economic fundamentals and world-leading investment advantages.  

“Our government’s top priority is the economy, and deepening Canada’s trade ties around the world and attracting new investment to our country plays an important role in creating jobs and keeping the economy strong,’’ said Minister Fast at an investor conference organized in partnership with the Financial Times of London. “With our low taxes, strong, stable economy, generous research and development incentives, educated workforce and outstanding quality of life, Canada continues to be a great business partner for entrepreneurs and an investment destination of choice for global investors.”

More than 20 other business events with pan-Canadian representation are taking place at Canada House in Trafalgar Square. These events showcase Canada’s business strengths and competitive advantages to business leaders and aim to bring new job-creating investments to Canada.

“Attracting new foreign investment to Canada by telling our country’s story of economic excellence and pro-trade leadership is a key part of our government’s Economic Action Plan,” said Minister Fast. “With one in ten Canadian jobs linked to foreign investment, we know that attracting new investment creates jobs and prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers and families.”

While in the United Kingdom, Minister Fast met with key counterparts, including Vince Cable, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and President of the Board of Trade, and Stephen Green, the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Trade and Investment, to discuss bilateral relations and to review progress on the science, technology and entrepreneurship joint innovation statement that was signed last May in Montréal. The Minister also met with Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, responsible for North America, and Joe Costello, Ireland’s Minister of State for Trade and Development, to discuss bilateral trade relations.

In these meetings, Minister Fast and his counterparts reiterated a shared commitment to a successful conclusion to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

“During my meetings with my trade counterparts, we agreed that the best way to deepen our robust trade and investment relationships is to conclude negotiations on a broad and comprehensive Canada-EU trade agreement,” said Minister Fast. “Such an agreement will take the Canada-EU trade and investment relationship to the next level and bring jobs, growth and long-term prosperity to hard-working people in both Canada and the EU.”

At the entrance to Canada Olympic House, the Minister watched striking digital displays featuring Christie MicroTiles and Christie Entero LED rear projection cubes and toured a Boris Bikes facility, so named after London Mayor Boris Johnson. The 8,000 bicycles and 570 docking stations are modelled on Canada’s BIXI public bicycle rental system, with components and bikes manufactured by companies located in Quebec. Both initiatives are raising the visibility of Canadian innovation during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“Our partnership with the Government of Canada has provided unparalleled visibility for our MicroTile technology,” said Kathryn Cress, Vice President of Global and Corporate Marketing at Christie. “The digital displays at Canada Olympic House are a great example of cutting-edge Canadian technology.”

Canada and the United Kingdom share an enduring and broadly based commercial relationship. Two-way merchandise trade reached $29.1 billion in 2011—a 7.5-percent increase over 2010—making the United Kingdom Canada’s largest trading partner in the European Union.

To find multilingual, comprehensive information on Canada’s many investment and business advantages, please consult Invest in Canada.

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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 - Canada’s Investment Advantages

Canada welcomes foreign investment that contributes to its economic growth, jobs, innovation, competitiveness and long-term prosperity. Between 2001 and 2010, Canada was the world’s eighth-largest destination for inbound foreign direct investment. Canada’s strong economic fundamentals and world-leading competitive advantages make it an investment destination of choice for global investors. These advantages include:

Strong economic growth: The International Monetary Fund predicts that Canada will be among the fastest-growing economies of the G-7 in 2012. Canada has also recorded the fastest employment growth in the G-7 since mid-2009, with employment having increased by almost 760,000 net new jobs. The number of new jobs in Canada is now close to 335,000 above its pre-recession peak, making Canada one of only two G-7 countries to have regained all of the jobs lost during the global recession. The International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development each predict that Canada will remain among the leaders of the world’s major economies this year and next.

Fiscal strength: Forbes magazine ranks Canada as the best country in the world with which to do business. Canada entered the global recession with a strong record of balanced budgets and low debt: Canada’s net debt-to-GDP ratio remains the lowest in the G-7, by far. Canada also has the strongest fiscal position in the G-7 and among the best fiscal prospects in the G-20. Canada is set to return to a balanced budget over the medium term. The federal debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 33.9 percent in 2010-11 and it is projected to decline to 30.1 percent by 2015-16.

Financial stability: Canada’s strength is underpinned by what the World Economic Forum (WEF) affirmed as the world’s most stable financial sector, four years in a row. The WEF also rated Canada’s banking system as the soundest in the world. At a time when financial institutions around the world were collapsing, no Canadian bank or insurer failed and none required bailouts. Global Finance magazine has affirmed that 6 of the top 10 safest banks in North America are Canadian.

Lower business costs and taxes: Canada offers a low-cost, low-tax environment. Canada’s overall tax rate on new business investment is substantially lower than that of other G-7 countries. Canada has a combined federal-provincial statutory general corporate income tax rate of 26 percent, which is below the level of most other G-7 countries and about 13 percentage points lower than that of the United States. Canada is the first among G-20 members to become a tariff-free zone for manufacturers by eliminating tariffs on manufacturing inputs, machinery and equipment.

Excellence in research and innovation: Canada offers a winning environment for research and innovation, including world-leading R & D infrastructure, innovation incentives and scientific talent. Canada has the G-7’s highest expenditures on R & D done in institutions of higher education, when measured as a share of GDP. Canada offers one of the most generous R & D tax incentives in the industrialized world. Combined federal and provincial credits can return to foreign investors, on average, up to 30 percent of their investment in R & D in Canada.

A competitive workforce: Canada is home to a highly educated, flexible and multicultural workforce that is well suited for today’s knowledge-based economy. Canada has one of the world’s best-educated workforces, with the highest proportion of post-secondary graduates among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Canada ranks second among G-7 members and fourth in the world for the quality of its management schools, according to the WEF. According to the Swiss-based Institute for Management Development, Canada has the highest number of qualified engineers in the G-7.

Exceptional quality of life: Canada’s high quality of life provides a great backdrop for the success of individuals, families and globally engaged companies. According to the OECD’s Better Life Index, Canada has the highest quality of life in the G-7 and sixth-highest among OECD members. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary among the world’s top five cities for liveability.

A gateway to the world: With the shortest sailing time between Asia and North America, Canada offers businesses ready access to a lucrative North American market of nearly 460 million consumers. Canada has major international shipping ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts (Halifax, Vancouver and Prince Rupert) and along the St. Lawrence Seaway (Montréal). Seventeen of Canada’s 20 largest cities are located within a 90-minute drive of the Canada-U.S. border.

Find out more at Invest in Canada.