Harper Government Leadership Against Protectionism Continues at OECD and WTO Meetings

May 30, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today concluded his active participation in meetings with counterparts from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to advance Canadian interests. 

“As a government that has put Canada at the forefront of trade liberalization, we believe that trade and investment represent the twin engines of growth for the global economy,” said Minister Fast. “My message to my counterparts this week has been clear: there is no better creator of jobs, growth and long-term prosperity than freer and more open trade. In order to sustain the global economic recovery, our goal as legislators must be to turn border bottlenecks into global gateways.”

While in Paris, Minister Fast also welcomed the joint OECD-WTO report on global value chains, which will help governments gain a better understanding of the interconnectedness of trade and the world economy. Minister Fast also met with WTO Director General-designate Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo and made clear Canada’s belief that meaningful progress on trade liberalization must be made at the WTO ministerial conference, scheduled to take place in December 2013 in Bali, Indonesia.

“The consequences of a lack of meaningful progress at Bali cannot be overstated,” said Minister Fast.  “Essential to the credibility of the multilateral trading system itself is the ability to update rules and negotiate new commitments. Failure to deliver in Bali may confirm to the world that after 12 years of trying, the broader Doha agenda is simply not viable.”   

OECD members account for approximately 64.5 percent of the world’s GDP, 58.5 percent of total world merchandise trade and 18 percent of the world’s population. Nine of Canada’s top 10 trading partners are members of the OECD (the exception being China).

Canada’s trade with OECD countries accounts for more than 80 percent of its total trade—amounting to $748.8 billion in 2012, up 2.6 percent from 2011. 

Canada also welcomed the decision to invite Colombia and Latvia to begin the process toward OECD membership in 2013, and to consider membership for Costa Rica and Lithuania in 2015.

For more information about the road map to OECD accession, see OECD enlargement.

To view the OECD ministerial statement, visit Resolution of the Council on Strengthening the OECD’s Global Reach.

For more information about Minister Fast’s participation at the OECD, please visit Minister Fast Attends OECD and WTO Ministerial Meetings.

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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
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