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Canada-EU Trade Agreement Will Be a Big Win for British Columbia, says Minister Fast

Deeper trade with European Union will bring jobs, growth and long-term prosperity to workers and families in British Columbia

April 3, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today discussed the many benefits an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement will bring to B.C. workers and businesses during a round-table session in Vancouver with stakeholders from a wide range of B.C.’s key economic sectors.

“Our government is focused on the priorities of workers, businesses and exporters in B.C.: jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Fast. “That is why we are working hard to open new markets in large and dynamic economies—like the European Union—as part of the most-ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history.”

The European Union is B.C.’s fourth-largest export market and fourth-largest trading partner. A comprehensive agreement would eliminate tariffs, including those on key provincial exports such as forest products, metals and minerals, fish and seafood, agriculture and agri-food products, and services.

“The foundation of our government’s pro-trade plan to open new markets that increase Canadian exports will be solidified by a successful outcome to the Canada-EU trade negotiations,” said Minister Fast. “In turn, this will lead to new opportunities and greater access for B.C. exporters to markets throughout the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, China and countries that make up the Trans Pacific Partnership.”

The EU is Canada’s second-largest trading partner and, with more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of $17 trillion, the world’s largest integrated economy.

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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

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

Backgrounder - British Columbia and a Canada-EU Trade Agreement

The European Union is both the world’s largest economy and its largest importing market for goods. As a result, the EU offers tremendous opportunities for Canadian exporters and hard-working Canadians in B.C. and every region of the country.

A joint Canada-EU study, conducted before the comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA) negotiations began, found that an ambitious agreement could boost Canada’s income by $12 billion annually and bilateral trade by 20 percent. Put another way, the economic benefit would be equivalent to creating almost 80,000 new jobs or increasing Canada’s average household annual income by $1,000. This is like adding the number of jobs currently in the city of Kelowna or the Abbotsford-Mission region to the Canadian economy.

A CETA would eliminate tariffs on B.C.’s key exports, provide access to new EU market opportunities and permanently lock in the duty-free access to the EU market that many B.C. exporters currently benefit from. Exporters would also benefit from other CETA provisions, such as those that would ease regulatory barriers to trade, protect exporters’ intellectual property and ensure more transparent rules for market access.

Upon entry into force, a CETA would create new opportunities for exports from British Columbia by immediately eliminating tariffs on the vast majority of exports in these key sectors:

  • B.C.’s forestry sector makes significant contributions to the economy and is a major local employer. Between 2010 and 2012, B.C. exported an average of $527.1 million annually to the European Union. EU tariffs on forest-products exports—including plywood, veneered panels and prefabricated buildings—average 1.2 percent, with peaks of 10 percent.
  • The mineral exploration and mining industry is an integral part of the provincial economy. B.C. is Canada’s largest exporter of coal and largest producer of copper, and produces significant amounts of gold, silver, lead, zinc, aluminum and more than 30 other industrial minerals. Annual B.C. metals and mineral products exports to the EU averaged $977.8 million between 2010 and 2012. Although many of these exports entered duty-free, exports of metals faced an average tariff of 1.7 percent, with tariffs as high as 10 percent on some products.
  • The fish and seafood sector is part of the social fabric of numerous coastal communities. B.C.’s fish and seafood exports to the EU—which averaged $56.2 million annually between 2010 and 2012—face average tariffs of 11 percent and peaks of 25 percent.
  • B.C.’s agriculture and agri-food products industry exported an annual average of $36.6 million to the EU between 2010 and 2012, with average tariff rates of 13.9 percent.