Minister of State Bernier Highlights Quebec’s Iconic Maple Syrup Industry as Beneficiary of Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Deeper trade with European Union will increase sales of iconic Canadian products, bringing jobs and long-term prosperity to hard-working Quebecers, says Minister of State Bernier

November 13, 2012 - The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), participated in an event today in Quebec as part of a week-long national outreach program featuring some of Canada’s most iconic brands and products. Minister Bernier highlighted Quebec’s world-famous maple syrup as one of many Quebec exports that will benefit from a Canada-EU trade agreement.

“Our government is supporting entrepreneurs to create jobs and growth in our communities,” said Minister Bernier at La Cabane à Pierre in Frampton. “Opening new markets for Canadian products and services is key to these efforts. Iconic Canadian brands and products like maple syrup will benefit from a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union.”

“We’re pleased to have Minister Bernier here today,” said Pierre Faucher, owner of La Cabane à Pierre sugar shack. “Maple syrup has become an increasingly popular product among Europeans over the last few years. A trade agreement with the EU will make Canada’s products more competitive in this lucrative market.”

“Quality maple sugar production is a source of great pride for Canadians,” said Serge Beaulieu, President of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. “Our products are already well known in the European market. Maple syrup has evolved beyond the traditional pancake and waffle markets and can now be found in value-added products as a natural flavouring. The elimination of EU tariff barriers on Canadian products would not only increase sales, but would also increase recognition of Canada’s high-quality products.”

Agriculture is the third-largest sector among Quebec exports to the EU, with exports worth an average of $639.2 million a year between 2009 and 2011. totalled Canadian exports of maple syrup to the EU in 2011 amounted to $45.2 million, 95 percent of which originated from Quebec. Key Quebec agricultural exports to the EU—such as maple syrup, prepared foods and preserved fruits—face high tariff rates, which would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.

“More than 60 percent of Canada’s annual income (gross domestic product) and the jobs of one in five Canadians are generated by trade,” said the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. “That is why our government is undertaking the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history, which includes a comprehensive next-generation trade agreement with the European Union. A trade 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 a $1,000 increase to the average Canadian family’s income, or 80,000 new jobs.”

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.

For more information, please visit Canada’s Iconic Products to Benefit from a CETA.

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A backgrounder detailing the benefits for Quebec of a potential Canada-EU 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
rudy.husny@international.gc.ca

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

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

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

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 income (gross domestic product).

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 twice the number of jobs currently in the cities of Saguenay or Trois-Rivières to the Canadian economy.

Many of Quebec’s key sectors would benefit from an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement:

Agriculture

  • This sector employs approximately 57,000 Quebecers.
  • Agriculture is the third-largest export sector for Quebec to the EU, with exports worth an average of $639.2 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • Key Quebec agricultural exports to the EU, such as maple syrup, prepared foods and preserved fruits, face high tariff rates. These high tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Quebec’s world-class agricultural products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Quebecers through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Aluminum

  • This sector employs more than 9,000 Quebecers.
  • With Quebec aluminum exports worth an average of $522.5 million a year between 2009 and 2011, Quebec accounts for more than 90 percent of Canada’s aluminum exports to the EU, the majority of which are subject to duties.
  • The EU levies tariffs of up to 10 percent in this sector, including tariffs of between 3 and 6 percent on unwrought aluminum. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Quebec’s world-class aluminum products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Quebecers through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Chemicals and plastics

  • This sector employs almost 90,000 Quebecers.
  • Quebec exports of chemicals and plastics to the EU were worth an average of $270.9 million annually between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on Canadian 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 Quebec’s world-class chemical and plastic products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Quebecers through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Wood and wood products

  • This sector employs nearly 40,000 Quebecers.
  • Exports of wood and wood products from Quebec to the EU were worth an average of $59.6 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current tariffs on Canadian wood and wood products average 2.2 percent, with peaks of 10 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Quebec’s world-class wood and wood products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Quebecers through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Fish and seafood products

  • This sector employs more than 1,700 Quebecers.
  • Fish and seafood is an important sector for Quebec, with exports to the EU worth an average of $17.8 million between 2009 and 2011.
  • The EU is the world’s largest fish and seafood market, with its global import market averaging $25 billion annually between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood average 11 percent, with peaks of 25 percent. These high tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Quebecers’ world-class fish and seafood products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working Quebecers through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Services

  • The services sector, overall, employs nearly 2.7 million Quebecers.
  • The services sector is a key driver of Quebec’s economy, accounting for 71 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 Quebec 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.
  • Quebec businesses currently have significant investments in the EU in a wide variety of sectors, including transportation, aerospace, telecommunications, paper, and business and engineering services.
  • Putting predictable investment rules in place and guaranteeing access to EU markets will help create a level playing field for Quebec’s investors and businesses and will 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 Quebecers.

Government procurement

  • Workers in Quebec and the rest of Canada employed in fields such as engineering, architecture and technology would benefit from greater access to the EU 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 Quebec’s economy.