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Big Gains for Alberta in a Canada-EU Trade Agreement, Says International Trade Minister Ed Fast

Deeper Canada-EU trade will increase exports from Alberta’s key sectors and create new sources of jobs and prosperity for businesses, workers and their families

April 26, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today said that a wide range of sectors in every region of the country, including Alberta, would benefit from an ambitious Canada-EU comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA). Minister Fast made his remarks during a round table with business and industry leaders representing Alberta’s key economic sectors.

“An ambitious agreement with the European Union would produce substantial gains for many of Alberta’s critical sectors, generating significant benefits for businesses, workers and their families,” said Minister Fast. “Lowering tariff barriers would provide better access to the lucrative EU market of 500 million consumers and increase sales of Alberta’s world-class exports from these critical sectors.”

A comprehensive agreement would eliminate tariffs on high-quality provincial exports such as agricultural commodities, metals and minerals, chemicals and plastics, and advanced manufacturing products, including industrial machinery. It would also improve access to the EU market for Alberta’s world-class service suppliers, creating new export opportunities for services in sectors such as oil and gas.

A joint study concluded that 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).

This translates to an increase of $1,000 to the average Canadian household’s income or 80,000 new jobs—twice the total number of jobs currently in Alberta’s regional municipality of Wood Buffalo—to the Canadian economy.

“Our government is focused on what matters to all Canadians—jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Fast. “That is why we are working hard to open new markets to increase Canadian exports in the largest, most dynamic and fastest-growing markets in the world.”

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 $17 trillion. The ongoing trade negotiations with the EU represent Canada’s most ambitious trade initiative, broader in scope and deeper in ambition than the historic North American Free Trade Agreement.

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A backgrounder detailing benefits for Alberta 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 - Alberta and a Canada-EU Trade Agreement

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

CETA would eliminate tariffs on almost all of Alberta’s key exports and provide access to new EU market opportunities. 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 Alberta by eliminating tariffs on exports in the following key sectors:

  • Metals and minerals. Alberta’s metal and mineral sector includes natural gas, conventional oil, coal, minerals and the oil sands. More specifically, Alberta’s metal refining and mineral sector is a foundational industry that allows for infrastructure development, as well as energy and natural resource production, in Alberta. It generated 28 percent of the province’s total GDP in 2011 and employs more than 181,000 Albertans, creating employment opportunities that provide some of the highest earnings in the Albertan economy. Although many exports of mineral products from Alberta to the EU enter duty-free, exports of metals face an average tariff of 1.7 percent, with tariffs as high as 10 percent on some products.
  • Agriculture and agri-food. With more than 51 million acres used for crop and livestock production, Alberta produces an abundant supply of world-class agricultural commodities. The agriculture and agri-food sector employed nearly 76,000 Albertans in 2012 and contributed 2.5 percent to Alberta’s GDP in 2011. Between 2010 and 2012, Alberta’s exports of agricultural commodities to the European Union averaged $285.8 million annually, with tariff rates averaging 13.9 percent.
  • Forest products. The forest products sector employs nearly 19,000 Albertans and represents a significant component of the Albertan economy. Alberta’s exports of forest products to the EU—averaging $62.6 million annually between 2010 and 2012—face average tariffs of 1.2 percent, with peaks of 10 percent. These tariff barriers will be eliminated under a Canada-EU trade agreement.
  • Advanced manufacturing. Alberta’s advanced manufacturing industry employs more than 28,000 Albertans. Between 2010 and 2012, Alberta exported to the EU an annual average of $254.1 million in advanced manufacturing products, which faced tariffs as high as 22 percent on some goods. Industrial machinery, one of Alberta’s key advanced manufacturing exports to the EU, faces average tariff rates of 2.1 percent, with peaks of 8 percent.
  • Chemicals and plastics. Alberta is a major producer of chemicals and plastics. This industry employs 11,000 Albertans and is an important source of Alberta’s exports to the EU, with exports averaging $84.6 million annually between 2010 and 2012. These exports currently face average tariffs of 4.9 percent, with peaks of 6.5 percent.