Minister Fast and Minister Duguid Kick Off Small Business Week

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:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332
rudy.husny@international.gc.ca

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade

Brianna Ames
Office of the Honourable Brad Duguid
416-325-6909
brianna.ames@ontario.ca 

Backgrounder - Benefits for Ontario of a Potential Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working Ontarians

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:

Agriculture

  • This sector employs more than 92,000 Ontarians.
  • Agricultural products are a significant exporting sector for Ontario to the EU, with exports worth an average of almost $500 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • An ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement would lock in permanent duty-free access on key Ontario interests, such as oilseeds and pulses.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Ontario’s world-class agricultural products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Ontarians through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Electronics

  • This sector employs more than 41,500 Ontarians.
  • Electronics is a significant sector for Ontario, with exports to the EU averaging $1.3 billion annually between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on Canadian electronics average 3 percent, with peaks of 14 percent. These high tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Ontario’s businesses, workers and their families.

Chemicals and plastics

  • This sector employs more than 87,000 Ontarians.
  • The chemicals and plastics industry is one of Ontario’s top exporting sectors to the EU, with exports worth an average of $1.1 billion annually between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on chemicals and plastics average 4.9 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Ontario’s world-class chemical and plastic products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Ontarians through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Industrial machinery

  • This sector employs more than 5,500 Ontarians.
  • Industrial machinery is a significant exporting sector for Ontario to the EU, with exports worth an average of $533 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on industrial machinery average 2.1 percent, with peaks of 8 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Ontario’s world-class industrial machinery in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Ontarians through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Services

  • The services sector, overall, employs more than 4.5 million Ontarians.
  • The services sector is a key driver of Ontario’s economy, accounting for 76 percent of the province’s total GDP in 2010.
  • In 2010, the EU’s services import market totalled $1.4 trillion.
  • Current EU trade barriers on Canadian services are citizenship or residency requirements, lack of temporary entry rules, and ownership and investment restrictions. These trade barriers would be reduced under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement, directly benefiting businesses and workers in this vital Ontario sector.

Investment

  • Direct investment by Canadian companies in the EU totalled almost $173 billion in 2011, representing over 25 percent of Canadian direct investment abroad. The same year, direct investment from European companies in Canada totalled almost $161 billion, representing over 26 percent of total foreign investment in Canada.
  • Ontario businesses currently have significant investments in the EU in a wide variety of sectors, including agriculture, automotive, financial services, renewable energy, transportation, and information and communications technology.
  • Putting predictable investment rules in place and guaranteeing access to EU markets will help create a level playing field for Ontario’s investors and businesses and reduce the risks associated with investing abroad. This would lead to greater two-way investment, which would help create jobs and long-term prosperity for hard-working Ontarians.

Government procurement

  • Workers in Ontario and the rest of Canada employed in fields such as engineering, architecture and technology could benefit from greater access to the EU’s procurement market, which is worth an estimated $2.4 trillion.
  • Greater access to the world’s largest procurement market would benefit workers and their families in sectors that are vital to Ontario’s economy.