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Harper Government Continues to Open New Markets to Help Small Businesses Expand and Succeed Abroad

Pro-trade plan on track to continue creating jobs and strengthening Canada’s competitive position

June 6, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today celebrated the strong relationship the Harper government has developed with Canada’s small business community by highlighting the work being done by his Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) Advisory Board.

“Our government understands the crucial role that small and medium-sized enterprises play in creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity from coast to coast to coast,” said Minister Fast. “That’s why we are helping them expand in new markets around the world by reducing red tape, tariffs and taxes and ensuring they have access to the services and support they need to succeed in global markets.”

Ways in which the Harper government is helping SMEs abroad include:

  • opening 15 new Canadian Trade Commissioner Service offices in such key markets as Brazil, China, India and Mongolia;
  • eliminating tariffs on more than 1,800 items and providing over $435 million in tariff relief to Canadian businesses;
  • enhancing perimeter security under the Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness initiative; and
  • embarking upon the most ambitious plan in Canadian history to create new opportunities and competitive advantages for SMEs in the largest, most dynamic and fastest-growing markets in the world.

“Canada’s vibrant SME community, the backbone of Canada’s economy, has greatly appreciated the federal government’s ongoing commitment to helping SMEs grow and expand their business interests around the globe,” said Murad Al-Katib, President and CEO of Alliance Grain Traders Inc. and outgoing chair of the SME Advisory Board. “Having the right connections at the right time can make all the difference to SMEs. By opening new offices in targeted growing markets—staffed by Canadian trade commissioners, who provide on-the-ground intelligence and real-time assistance—the government is delivering the services and support SMEs need to succeed in today’s competitive economy.”

“In order to help SMEs take advantage of new opportunities abroad, it is crucial that we understand what they need from the federal government, especially as we continue work toward refreshing Canada’s Global Commerce Strategy,” said Minister Fast. “We are working hand-in-glove with the SME Advisory Board to help workers and businesses find new sources of growth and prosperity. I am grateful for the ongoing work of this group, and I thank Mr. Al-Katib for his ongoing support for the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history.”

Since 2006, Canada has concluded new free trade agreements with nine countries and begun deepening trade and investment ties with the largest, most dynamic and fastest-growing markets in the world, including the EU, India and Japan.

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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

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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