An ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement will help create good jobs and greater prosperity for small and medium-sized enterprises, ministers say
October 15, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Innovation, today highlighted the benefits a Canada-EU trade and economic agreement would generate for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and their workers. The ministers made the comments as they kicked off small business week at Mellow Walk, a safety and comfort shoe factory in Toronto that will benefit from reduced tariffs under a Canada-EU trade agreement. They were joined at the event by Dan Kelly, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
“Our government’s top priority is job creation and growing the Canadian economy,” said Minister Fast. “Representing 98 percent of all firms in Canada and employing nearly half of all working Canadians, small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy. That is why we are helping SMEs expand and succeed by opening new markets abroad as part of the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history, which includes a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union.”
A trade and economic agreement with the European Union is expected to bring a 20-percent boost in bilateral trade and a $12-billion annual increase to Canada’s economy. That translates to an increase of $1,000 to the average Canadian family’s income, or 80,000 new Canadian jobs—which is like adding the total number of jobs currently in the city of Guelph to the Canadian economy.
“Small and medium-sized companies are at the heart of Ontario’s economy, and our government knows that the key to success is access to global markets,” said Minister Duguid. “Opening up markets through trade agreements like the proposed pact with the European Union is crucial for our continued economic growth and the creation of more jobs and prosperity for Ontarians.”
The manufacturing sector is a key driver of Ontario’s economy, accounting for 12.4 percent of the province’s total GDP in 2011 and employing nearly 795,000 Ontarians. Workers and businesses that produce various industrial products in Ontario’s manufacturing sector, including chemicals, plastics and tools, would benefit from a Canada-EU trade and economic agreement. In 2011, Ontario’s manufacturing exports to the EU totalled nearly $8.2 billion. Current EU trade barriers on Canadian manufactured goods would be reduced by such an agreement, directly benefiting businesses and workers in this vital Ontario sector.
“As Canada seeks to conclude a trade agreement with the European Union, there is great potential for new market opportunities for SMEs,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB President. “While about half of SMEs engage in international trade, 5 percent, representing 5,000 of our member businesses, currently trade with Europe. By reducing tariffs, costs and other barriers, a trade agreement with the European Union will make it easier for more small businesses to take advantage of opportunities in the EU market.”
According to a 2011 CFIB survey, over half of respondents planned to increase the amount of their trade with the EU within the next three years.
The EU is Canada’s second-largest trading partner and the world’s largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of over $17 trillion. The ongoing trade negotiations with the EU represent Canada’s most significant trade initiative since the historic North American Free Trade Agreement.
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A backgrounder follows detailing the benefits for Ontario of a potential Canada-EU trade and economic agreement.
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
Office of the Honourable Brad Duguid
An ambitious trade agreement with the European Union would be of significant benefit to Canada, resulting in a 20-percent boost in bilateral trade and a $12-billion increase in Canada’s annual GDP.
That translates to an increase of $1,000 to the average Canadian family’s income, or 80,000 new Canadian jobs—which is like adding the number of jobs currently in the city of Guelph to the Canadian economy.
Many of Ontario’s key sectors would benefit from an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement:
Chemicals and plastics