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Harper Government Opening New Markets in Middle East and North Africa
Increasing Canadian exports leads to jobs, growth and prosperity at home, Minister Fast says on trade mission to Saudi Arabia and Jordan
October 7, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, continues to advance the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history as he leads a trade mission to Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Yesterday in Riyadh, Minister Fast and Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, announced the relaunch of the Canada-Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission (JEC) to help expand and diversify trade between the two countries.
“Opening new markets and increasing Canadian exports around the world creates jobs and prosperity for Canadian workers and families,” said Minister Fast. “Reinvigorating the Joint Economic Commission will help us take our bilateral relationship to the next level and help Canadian businesses succeed in the Middle East and the North African market.”
Representatives of more than 20 Canadian businesses and organizations have joined Minister Fast on the trade mission to Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The trade mission is focused on the education, health care and infrastructure sectors, areas where Canadian expertise and know-how is significant.
More than 16,000 Saudi Arabians are now studying in Canada, making Saudi Arabia Canada’s fourth-largest source of international students, and some 4,000 Saudi doctors have received medical training in Canada. Saudi Arabia is also currently investing hundreds of billions of dollars in education and health-care facilities, as well as in a broad range of transport, water, power, urban development and other infrastructure projects.
Saudi Arabia is Canada’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, with two-way merchandise trade reaching $3.6 billion in 2011. Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia are also growing rapidly, having almost equalled by July 2012 the $860 million in total exports for 2011.
Canada has offered to host the first meeting of a revitalized JEC in 2013.
Minister Fast is pictured (front row, centre) with the trade mission participants.
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A backgrounder follows, outlining the Harper government’s ongoing trade and related initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa.
For further information, media representatives may contact:
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 - Canada’s Recent Trade and Investment Initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa
In the last three years, the Government of Canada has pursued several trade initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa:
- On October 2, 2012, the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, announced that Canadian sheep and goats now have market access to Qatar. Earlier this year, the government also secured access for Canadian cattle to Qatar.
- On October 1, 2012, the Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement was implemented. The agreement will help increase Canadian exports and help create jobs and economic growth for Canadian workers and businesses in a variety of sectors.
- On September 27, 2012, the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, announced that Canadian breeding cattle now have market access to Libya.
- Canada and Morocco concluded the third round of negotiations toward a Canada-Morocco free trade agreement in June 2012 in Ottawa. Good progress has been made so far on all aspects of the negotiations.
- Minister Fast led a trade mission to Libya in early 2012.
- On September 26, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait, witnessed the signing of the Canada-Kuwait Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement in Ottawa.
- In 2010, Canada and Morocco signed an expanded air transport agreement that allowed each country’s airlines to provide scheduled air services to an increased number of destinations in the other’s territory. Air transport agreements have also been signed with Jordan and Kuwait.
- In January 2010, the Canada-Algeria Air Agreement was updated to allow for increased weekly flights between Algeria and Canada. In 2012, Air Canada endorsed Air Algeria’s request to offer five flights a week from June to September 2012 in accordance with the agreement.
- In 2009, Canada and Jordan concluded a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA). FIPA negotiations with Bahrain have also been concluded.
- In 2009, Canada and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement on economic cooperation, trade and investment.
- In November 2009, Canada and Kuwait signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Trade Cooperation.
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