Harper Government Announces Latest Milestone in Pro-trade Plan to Open New Markets for Canadian Exports

To help create jobs and prosperity for hard-working Canadians, Minister Fast announces trade mission to Middle East will follow October 1 coming-into-force of Canada-Jordan trade agreement

September 21, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced that the Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement will come into force on October 1, 2012, the latest example of the Harper government opening new markets and creating new competitive advantages around the world for Canadian exporters. Minister Fast made the announcement alongside Nasser Judeh, Jordan’s Foreign Minister, who is visiting Canada.

“Our government’s top priority remains the economy, and protecting and strengthening the prosperity of hard-working families in every region of Canada,” said Minister Fast. “As of October 1, Canadian businesses will have preferred access to the Jordanian market. This competitive advantage will help increase Canadian exports and help create jobs and economic growth for Canadian workers and businesses in a variety of sectors.”

On October 1, producers and exporters across Canada will benefit from reduced or eliminated tariffs on nearly all of the country’s current exports to Jordan. The elimination of tariffs on forest products, machinery and agricultural products will greatly benefit Quebec and the Western and Atlantic provinces. Ontario stands to benefit with regard to key exports, such as machinery, vehicles, tires and furniture.

The agreement will also provide a more predictable, transparent and rules-based trading environment for Canadian investors and businesses.

The Canada-Arab Business Council (CABC) applauded the news.

“CABC members welcome the Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement and the duty-free access to the Jordanian market that comes with it,” said J. Hugh O’Donnell, Chairman of the CABC. “This agreement will expand opportunities for Canadian businesses and their employees by providing another foothold in the broader Middle East-North Africa market.”

Minister Fast also announced that he will be leading a trade mission to Saudi Arabia and Jordan from October 5 to 9.

“Our government is committed to ensuring that Canadian businesses are aware of the competitive advantages being created through the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history,” said Minister Fast. “I am pleased to be leading a trade mission to Jordan, where preferred access for our businesses will soon be in effect, and to other exciting markets in the Middle East that need Canadian expertise, goods and know-how.”

The Canada-Jordan trade agreement is Canada’s first with an Arab country and only the second in the Middle East, after the agreement with Israel. The agreement demonstrates the importance Canada places on further developing relations with Jordan, a country that plays an important role in the Middle East, especially by promoting peace and security in the region. In 2011, Canada had a trade surplus with Jordan. Two-way trade totalled almost $89 million, with Canadian merchandise exports to Jordan reaching $70.1 million, more than double the $31 million in 2003.

Parallel agreements with Jordan on the environment and labour cooperation will come into force at the same time as the free trade agreement.

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A backgrounder on the Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement 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-Jordan Free Trade Agreement

Following a visit by King Abdullah II to Canada in July 2007, Canada and Jordan committed to exploring the possibility of a free trade agreement. Negotiations were formally launched in February 2008.

After three rounds, Canada and Jordan concluded free trade negotiations, as well as negotiations for the related Agreements on the Environment and Labour Cooperation, on August 26, 2008.

On June 28, 2009, the Honourable Stockwell Day, then Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, signed the Canada-Jordan free trade, labour cooperation and environment agreements, and a Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPA), at a ceremony with his counterpart, Jordan’s Minister of Trade Amer Hadidi.

On November 15, 2011, the Government of Canada tabled legislation to implement the Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement and two related agreements, the Agreement on Labour Cooperation and the Agreement on the Environment, in the House of Commons (see Canada Introduces Legislation to Implement Free Trade Agreement with Jordan and Panama). On June 29, 2012, Minister Fast announced that the Canada-Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act had received Royal Assent (see Legislation to Implement Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement Receives Royal Assent).

The Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement and the agreements on labour cooperation and the environment will come into force on October 1, 2012.

In less than six years, the government has concluded free trade agreements with Colombia, Honduras, Jordan, Panama, Peru and the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It is also in negotiation with many others, including the European Union, India and Japan.

For more information, please visit Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.