Canada Achieves Pacific Alliance Observer Status

< title="Canada Reiterates Commitment to Religious Freedom">

Read the transcript or download the video.

Opening new markets in fast-growing Latin America will create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity here at home, ministers say

November 15, 2012 - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), on behalf of the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway, today announced that Canada has become an observer to the Pacific Alliance, a grouping of four of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The Minister made the announcement during a trade mission to Latin America.

“In order to create good jobs, economic growth and greater long-term prosperity for Canadian workers and their families, our government is committed to opening new markets for our exporters around the world,” said Minister Fast. “We look forward to building on our already deep trade and investment ties in Latin America as we continue to pursue the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history.”

“Having a stake in the Pacific Alliance will give Canada an important opportunity to shape the future prosperity of the Americas," said Minister Ablonczy. “By working through the Alliance with our neighbours in the Americas, we are reinforcing our friendships and paving the way to a bright future for the region.”

The Pacific Alliance was launched in April 2011 to facilitate the free movement of goods, services, capital and people among member countries and to strengthen trade and investment ties with Asia. Canada already has comprehensive bilateral free trade agreements with each of the four countries in the Alliance, and is engaged in negotiations with Chile, Mexico and Peru through the Trans-Pacific Partnership to conclude a 21st-century trade agreement that will bridge the Americas and Asia.

The countries of the Pacific Alliance have a combined population of 207 million and account for 71 percent of Latin America’s exports and 34 percent of its GDP. Two-way bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and the four Pacific Alliance countries reached $39.3 billion in 2011, up 12 percent over 2010.

Canada’s engagement in the Americas has been a foreign policy priority since 2007, with a particular focus on increasing economic opportunities in the hemisphere. Minister Ablonczy is leading a trade mission to Peru, Colombia and Panama on behalf of Minister Fast from November 11 to November 16. She is accompanied by representatives of 18 companies and organizations from the infrastructure sector.

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Joshua Zanin
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)
613-944-2300

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