Harper Government Highlights Saskatchewan’s Iconic Wheat 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 Saskatchewan families, MPs say

November 14, 2012 - Brad Trost, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Humboldt, and Kelly Block, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, participated in an event today in Saskatchewan as part of a week-long national outreach featuring some of Canada’s most iconic brands and products. MPs Trost and Block highlighted Saskatchewan’s world-famous wheat as one of many Saskatchewan exports that will benefit from a Canada-EU trade agreement.

“Our government is committed to creating jobs and growing the Canadian economy,” said Mr. Trost. “Key to these efforts is opening new markets, like the EU, that appreciate the iconic products and brands that Canada has to offer—products that we as Canadians are proud of. A comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union will bring benefits to various sectors of Saskatchewan’s economy, including our iconic wheat industry.”

“Quality wheat is a source of great pride to Canadians,” said Jim Wickett, a director with the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association who farms 3,300 acres on a fourth-generation farm southeast of Rosetown. “Our agriculture products are already well known in the European market. Eliminating tariff barriers on agriculture products would not only increase sales, but would also increase recognition of Canada’s high-quality products.”

Agriculture is Saskatchewan’s largest export sector to the EU, with exports worth an average of $706.5 million a year between 2009 and 2011. Saskatchewan exports of wheat to the EU in 2011 amounted to $418 million, 70 percent of Canada’s wheat exports to the EU. An ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement would lock in permanent duty-free access for key Saskatchewan interests, such as wheat, oilseeds and pulses.

“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.

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A backgrounder 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 Saskatchewan of a Potential Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working Saskatchewan residents

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 four times the number of jobs currently in the city of Prince Albert to the Canadian economy.

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

Agriculture

  • This sector employs approximately 39,500 people in Saskatchewan.
  • Agriculture is Saskatchewan’s largest export sector to the EU, with exports worth an average of $706.5 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • An ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement would lock in permanent duty-free access on key Saskatchewan interests, such as wheat, oilseeds and pulses.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Saskatchewan’s world-class agricultural products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working residents of Saskatchewan through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Scientific instruments

  • This sector employs approximately 130 people in Saskatchewan.
  • Exports of scientific instruments from Saskatchewan to the EU were worth an average of $2.9 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on scientific instruments average 2.7 percent. These tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of Saskatchewan’s scientific instruments in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working residents of Saskatchewan through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Services

  • The services sector, overall, employs nearly 370,000 people in Saskatchewan.
  • The services sector is a key driver of Saskatchewan’s economy, accounting for 61 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 Saskatchewan 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 by European companies in Canada totalled almost $161 billion, representing over 26 percent of total foreign investment in Canada.
  • Saskatchewan businesses currently have investment interests in the EU in a variety of sectors, including agriculture, mining, energy, and information and communication technologies.
  • Putting predictable investment rules in place and guaranteeing access to EU markets will help to create a level playing field for Saskatchewan’s investors and businesses and reduce risks associated with investing abroad. This would help create jobs and long-term prosperity for hard-working residents of Saskatchewan.

Government procurement

  • Workers in Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada employed in fields such as engineering, architecture and technology would 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 Saskatchewan’s economy.