Harper Government Highlights British Columbia’s Iconic Wood and Wood Products 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 British Columbian families, says Minister Fast

November 15, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, participated in an event today in Delta, British Columbia, as part of a week-long series of national outreach activities featuring some of Canada’s most iconic brands and products. Minister Fast highlighted British Columbia’s renowned wood and wood products as among many provincial exports that will benefit from a Canada-EU trade agreement.

“Our government is committed to creating jobs and growing the Canadian economy,” said Minister Fast at Acorn Sawmill, a division of International Forest Products Limited (Interfor), one of the West Coast’s largest producers of quality wood products. “Key to these efforts is opening new markets, such as 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 B.C.’s economy, including our wood and wood products industry.”

“Quality wood and wood products are a source of great pride for Canadians,” said Rick Jeffery, President and CEO of the Coast Forest Products Association. “B.C.’s wood exports face average tariffs of 2.2 percent in the EU, with peaks of 10 percent. The elimination of tariff barriers on these products would not only increase sales, but would also increase recognition of Canada’s world-class products.”

The wood and wood products sector employs nearly 15,000 British Columbians. Between 2009 and 2011, British Columbia exported an annual average of $326-million worth of wood and wood products to the EU.

“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 Minister Fast. “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 EU 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 detailing the benefits for British Columbia 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 British Columbia of a Potential Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working British Columbians

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 twice the number of jobs currently in the cities of Kelowna or Abbotsford-Mission to the Canadian economy.

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

Wood and wood products

  • This sector employs nearly 15,000 British Columbians.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, British Columbia exported an annual average of $326-million worth of wood and wood products to the EU.
  • B.C.’s wood exports face average tariffs of 2.2 percent, with peaks of 10 percent. These tariffs barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of B.C.’s world-class wood and wood products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit British Columbians through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Fish and seafood

  • This sector employs nearly 5,500 British Columbians.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, British Columbia exported an annual average of $55-million worth of fish and seafood products to the EU.
  • The EU is the world’s largest fish and seafood market, with global imports averaging $25 billion annually between 2009 and 2011.
  • Current EU tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood average 11 percent, with peaks of 25 percent. Salmon, accounting for the majority of British Columbia’s fish and seafood exports to the EU, faced an average tariff of 5.5 percent. These high tariff barriers would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of British Columbia’s world-class fish and seafood products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit British Columbians through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Agriculture

  • This sector employs more than 26,000 British Columbians.
  • Between 2009 and 2011, British Columbia exported an annual average of $35-million worth of agricultural products to the EU.
  • Tariffs on key British Columbian exports to the EU, such as fruits, vegetables and horticultural products, would be eliminated under an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Eliminating tariff barriers would increase sales of B.C.’s world-class agricultural products in the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers. This would directly benefit hard-working British Columbians through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity.

Services

  • This sector, overall, employs more than 1.5 million British Columbians.
  • The services sector is a key driver of British Columbia’s economy, accounting for 77 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 B.C. 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.
  • British Columbia businesses currently have significant investments in the EU in a wide variety of sectors, including mining, financial services, professional services, renewable energy and environmental technology, transportation, and information and communication technology.
  • Putting predictable investment rules in place and guaranteeing access to EU markets will help to create a level playing field for British Columbia’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 British Columbians.

Government procurement

  • Workers in British Columbia employed in fields such as architecture, technology and marketing consultancy 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 British Columbia’s economy.