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Address by Minister Van Loan to Indo-Canadian Business Leaders

No. 2011/1 - Mississauga, Ontario - January 6, 2011

Check Against Delivery

Good evening, and thank you for joining me and your member of Parliament, Bob Dechert.

Bob is a proud Mississaugan who is doing a great job representing this city—including the interests of workers and businesses—in Ottawa.

After all, Mississauga is an important driver of the Greater Toronto Area’s economy.

Our government is focused on creating jobs and growth and on economic recovery.

That’s why we’re consulting with Canadian businesses like the ones you represent.

Our government believes that Canadian businesses and workers, as key drivers of our economy, can provide the best advice on how to move our country further on the path to economic recovery.

We also believe that free trade and investment, not protectionism, are the key to global economic recovery.

And we know that Canadian businesses can compete with the best in the world.

That is why we are committed to a broad and ambitious free trade agenda that is opening new markets and creating new opportunities for businesses like yours.

Since taking office, our government has concluded free trade agreements with eight countries: Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama and the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

And this past year, we negotiated a waiver from the Buy American provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We are the only country to get this exemption.

Our government is also on track to eliminating all tariffs on imported manufacturing inputs, equipment and machinery, which will make Canada the first tariff-free zone for manufacturers in the G-20.

Our manufacturers will be able to source capital equipment and goods for their manufacturing processes from anywhere in the world, free from duties and costly customs procedures.

We’re continuing free trade negotiations with close to 50 countries. We’re in negotiations with the European Union—Canada’s second-largest trading partner.

A trade deal with the European Union stands to deliver a $12-billion annual boost to the Canadian economy and increase our trade with the European Union by 20 percent.

We’re also in negotiations with India, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world today.

As a result of the efforts of businesses in both Canada and India and our government’s commitment to strengthening ties between our two countries, our trade relationship has grown significantly, with bilateral merchandise trade totalling $4.2 billion last year.

We also enjoy a very well-developed partnership in the area of science and technology, with Canadian and Indian innovators working together on new technologies that could help drive economic growth.

And we’re on course to ratify an agreement with India on cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy—a great opportunity for Canada’s nuclear industry.

These are important successes, but there is potential to do even more.

In September, I joined India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, to publicly release the results of a Canada-India joint study that outlines the benefits of a closer economic partnership between our countries.

The joint study concluded that a free trade agreement with India would increase our bilateral trade by 50 percent and boost Canada’s economy by $6 billion to $15 billion a year.

These numbers translate into jobs for Canadian workers.

And that is why our government moved quickly to launch the free trade negotiations with India.

I launched the first round of the negotiations during my visit in India in November.

I was once again joined by Minister Sharma to highlight the importance of working toward a broad and ambitious free trade agreement between our countries.

As our economy continues to recover, Canadian businesses and workers can count on our government to create jobs and opportunities by opening key global markets such as the European Union and India.

Through our government’s ambitious free trade agenda, we’re helping to entrench economic recovery and lay the foundations for sustainable growth to benefit Canadian workers and families today and in the years to come.

Thank you.