Infrastructure Services and Building Products Sector


If your business is in Canada’s infrastructure services and building products sectors, Canada’s free trade agreements (FTAs) and foreign investment promotion and protection (FIPAs) are creating opportunities for firms like yours. The sector consists of architecture, construction and consulting engineering companies, as well as a broad range of firms specializing in green building products and energy efficient technologies. As a $124-billion industry, the sector represents 8 percent of Canada’s GDP and employs over 1 million Canadians. In 2011 Canada exported over $4.3 billion of infrastructure products and services.

Green design, engineering and construction projects in Canada have a worldwide reputation for innovation and excellence. That is why foreign countries are interested in tapping into Canadian expertise and importing Canadian products.

The fast-growing economies of Asia, Latin America and Africa have been the focus of a number of trade missions led by Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the need for infrastructure in these countries has not been missed by trade mission participants. In January 2013, Minister Fast led a successful trade mission to fast-growing sub-Saharan Africa, which included a large focus on the infrastructure sector. Shortly before this, in November 2012, Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), on behalf of Minister Fast, led an infrastructure-specific trade mission to Panama, Peru and Colombia to highlight the many opportunities in these Latin American countries.

Many large infrastructure projects require significant investment, often by governments, and offer significant opportunities for goods and services providers. Government-to-government commercial agreements such as FTAs and FIPAs help Canadian companies compete for these types of infrastructure projects.

For example:

  • The Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement (in effect since August 2009) extends the Canada-Peru Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and further protects the interests of Canadian investors with binding international arbitration to resolve disputes. Canada’s free trade agreement with Peru strengthens a well-established and growing trade and investment relationship: Canada is one of the top foreign direct investors in Peru.
  • The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (in effect since August 2011) protects the interests of Canadian companies working on or investing in Colombia’s roads, sea ports, airports and urban mass transit through reciprocal, legally binding rights and obligations, including binding arbitration to resolve disputes.
  • Canada and Jordan have a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (in effect since December 2009) that includes reciprocal, legally binding rights and obligations, including binding arbitration to resolve disputes when doing business relating to Jordan’s roads, sea ports, airports and urban mass transit network.
  • The Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (in effect since September 1997) provides a competitive advantage for Canadian companies in one of South America’s largest and fastest-growing economies. Over US$60 billion in projects are in the pipeline for Chile, and the country’s adoption of a build-operate-transfer concessions program has enabled the active participation of the private sector.
  • In total Canada has concluded and brought into force FIPAs with over 30 countries and is negotiating with many more. Investments are also covered under many of Canada’s FTAs, including those with Peru, Colombia and Chile, noted above.

For more information about new international business opportunities and how Canada’s FTAs and FIPAs can help your company in a particular market, please contact a trade commissioner or check out the Trade Commissioner Service website. You can also consult our database of international infrastructure projects.