Consultations on Next Phase of Government’s Pro-Trade Plan Take Place in Ottawa

Business leaders contribute views for a refreshed Global Commerce Strategy

August 28, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, on behalf of the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today attended a consultation session in Ottawa with industry and business leaders from across Eastern Ontario to help the government refresh its Global Commerce Strategy (GCS) in order to better align Canada’s trade and investment objectives in large, dynamic and fast-growing priority markets.

“Our government’s top priority is the economy,” said Minister Fast. “With one in five jobs in Ontario generated by trade, I welcome the valuable contributions stakeholders from Eastern Ontario are bringing to our cross-country consultations, which will in turn help us develop the next phase of our ambitious pro-trade plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians.”

In 2007, the Harper government launched the Global Commerce Strategy to position Canada for long-term prosperity. It identified 13 priority markets around the world where opportunities for Canadian businesses and interests had the greatest potential for growth and success. This led to five years of Canadian leadership on the world stage in support of open trade, job creation, economic growth and prosperity for Canadians.

As part of Economic Action Plan 2012, the government announced a commitment to refresh the GCS following extensive consultations with Canada’s key trade and investment stakeholders, including Canada’s business community, with a particular emphasis on the very critical community of small and medium-sized enterprises. Launched on August 14, 2012, in Halifax, the consultations are taking place in seven other communities across the country (Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa).

“Forging new trade and investment ties around the world is the best way for our government to ensure the financial security of businesses, workers and their families in Ontario,” said Baird. “I was pleased to participate in the consultations that took place today in Ottawa and to hear the views of our business community on how we can best position our pro-trade plan for the long-term prosperity of our province and country.”

Trade is fundamental to Ontario, with total exports of goods amounting to almost $182 billion in 2011. Most of Ontario’s merchandise exports went to the United States (78.5 percent), followed by the United Kingdom (8.2 percent), China (1.3 percent), Norway (1.3 percent) and Mexico (1.2 percent). In 2011, the top three merchandise exports from Ontario were motor vehicles and parts, precious stones and metals, and machinery.

Under the current GCS, the government has concluded new free trade agreements with nine countries; begun deepening trade and investment ties with key markets, including Brazil, China, India, Japan and the countries of the European Union; concluded or brought into force new foreign investment promotion and protection agreements with 11 countries; and opened new trade offices in the fast-growing priority markets of Brazil, China and India.

The next phase of the GCS will be announced in 2013.

To learn more about the renewal of the GCS, consult Cross-Country Global Commerce Strategy Consultations.

- 30 -

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