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Harper Government Launches Next Phase of Canada’s Pro-Trade Plan for Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity

Minister Fast names advisory panel to help update Global Commerce Strategy

May 29, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced the members of a new advisory panel that will help guide Canada’s ambitious, pro-trade plan in large, dynamic and fast-growing priority markets.

“Our government’s top priority is the economy—creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadian workers, businesses and families,” said Minister Fast in a keynote address to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce at its annual International Trade Day in Ottawa. “We understand the importance of trade to our economy. Trade accounts for one out of every five jobs in Canada and over 60 percent of our country’s annual income. That is why we are deepening Canada’s trading relationships in priority markets around the world.”

Since 2006, the Harper government has pursued the most ambitious pro-trade plan in Canada’s history. A central element of the plan was the launch of the Global Commerce Strategy (GCS) in 2007. This has driven Canadian leadership on the world stage in support of trade, job creation, economic growth and prosperity for hard-working Canadians. Under the GCS, the government has:

  • concluded new free trade agreements with nine countries: Colombia, Jordan, Panama, Peru, the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), and Honduras;
  • begun deepening trade and investment ties with the largest, most dynamic and fastest-growing markets in the world, including Brazil, China, the countries of the European Union, India and Japan;
  • concluded or brought into force new foreign investment promotion and protection agreements with 11 countries (Bahrain, China, the Czech Republic, Jordan, Peru, Kuwait, Latvia, Madagascar, Mali, Romania and Slovakia), while negotiations continue with 11 others, including India; and
  • opened new trade offices in the fast-growing priority markets of Brazil, China and India.

“Thanks to our government’s pro-trade leadership, Canadian workers and businesses now have preferred access to, and a real competitive edge in, more markets around the world than at any other time in our history,” said Minister Fast. “That is why we are taking steps today to build on this success through a refreshed Global Commerce Strategy.”

The Economic Action Plan 2012 states that, following consultations with the business community—including the critically important small and medium-sized business sector—an updated GCS will align Canada’s trade and investment objectives in specific high-growth and strategic priority markets, with an eye to ensuring that Canada is branded to its greatest advantage in those markets.

The advisory panel members named today by Minister Fast follow, with their organizations:

  • Murad Al-Katib, Alliance Grain Traders Inc., President and Chief Executive Officer, Chair of the Minister of International Trade’s Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Advisory Board;
  • Paul Reynolds, Canaccord Financial Inc., President and Chief Executive Officer;
  • Kathleen Sullivan, Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, Executive Director;
  • The Honourable Perrin Beatty, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, President and Chief Executive Officer;
  • The Honourable John Manley, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, President and Chief Executive Officer;
  • Catherine Swift, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairwoman;
  • Jayson Myers, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, President and Chief Executive Officer;
  • Brian Ferguson, Cenovus Energy Inc., President and Chief Executive Officer;
  • Serge Godin, CGI Group Inc., Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board; and
  • Indira Samarasekera, University of Alberta, President.

“I look forward to receiving advice from these knowledgeable Canadian leaders, all of whom are advocates of a broad and ambitious Global Commerce Strategy, on an updated plan that will guide Canada’s trade priorities going forward,” said Minister Fast. “In what remains a fragile global economic climate, our government’s pro-trade leadership is generating benefits for hard-working Canadians in every region of our country. A new Global Commerce Strategy will build on this success and ensure that we continue to stand tall on the world stage.”

The new Global Commerce Strategy will be announced in 2013.

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A backgrounder on the GCS advisory panel and its members 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 - Global Commerce Strategy Advisory Panel


The advisory panel will act as a sounding board for the minister of international trade on the development of the next phase of the Global Commerce Strategy (GCS). The panel will provide advice with a view to ensuring that the next phase of the GCS maximizes economic opportunities for Canadian workers and businesses. It will focus on key activities through which the government can help Canadian businesses be more successful globally, with an eye to ensuring that Canada is branded to its greatest advantage within priority markets.


Murad Al-Katib has been a member of the Minister of International Trade’s Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Advisory Board since December 2006 and the chair since 2009. He is also president and CEO of Alliance Grain Traders Inc. Alliance Grain Traders is the largest lentil and pea splitting company in the world, with more than 1.75 million tonnes of capacity located in 29 facilities in five continents, including production facilities in Canada, the United States, Australia, Turkey, China and South Africa. AGT companies have more than 60 years of global marketing experience.

Paul Reynolds was named president of Canaccord Financial Inc. in 2006 and CEO in 2007. He has also been global head of Canaccord Genuity since April 2005. He is very active in investment banking operations and leads Canaccord from its Toronto office. Mr. Reynolds has over 25 years of experience in the securities industry; he began as a floor trader. He joined Canaccord Financial in 1985, working as an investment advisor in Vancouver. He specialized in financing emerging and developing companies in the resource, technology and biotechnology sectors. Between 1999 and 2008, he managed Canaccord’s London office as president and chief operating officer of European operations.

Kathleen Sullivan is executive director of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA). As executive director of CAFTA, the organization representing the 80 percent of Canada’s agri-food sector that relies on international trade, Ms. Sullivan is responsible for promoting negotiations in the World Trade Organization and ensuring Canada has an ambitious free trade agenda.

The Honourable Perrin Beatty is president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Before joining the Chamber in 2007, Mr. Beatty was president and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. He was president and CEO of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1995 to 1999. In 1972, he was elected to the House of Commons. He served as minister of state (Treasury Board), minister of national revenue, solicitor general, minister of national defence, minister of health and welfare, minister of communications and secretary of state for external affairs. Mr. Beatty is chancellor of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

The Honourable John Manley is president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, representing the CEOs and entrepreneurs of 150 leading Canadian corporations. Mr. Manley is a former deputy prime minister of Canada and minister in the portfolios of industry, foreign affairs and finance. From 2004 to 2009, he served as counsel to the law firm McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

Catherine Swift is president, CEO and chairwoman of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). She has been with CFIB since 1987. Among her various responsibilities, she coordinates policy issues at both federal and provincial levels of government and represents CFIB with politicians, government, business and other groups.

Jayson Myers is president and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). Mr. Myers is a well-known economic commentator, and is widely published in the fields of Canadian and international economics, technological and industrial change. As CME’s chief economist, he led the association’s Manufacturing 20/20 initiative, the largest cross-country consultation ever convened by Canada’s business community on the future of manufacturing in Canada.

Brian Ferguson is president and CEO of Cenovus Energy Inc., an integrated oil company headquartered in Calgary. Mr. Ferguson joined a predecessor company in 1984 and became a member of the management team in 1994. His business experience spans finance, business development, strategic planning, corporate reserve evaluations, investor relations and communications.

Serge Godin founded CGI in 1976. Under his leadership, CGI Group Inc. has grown to be among the largest independent information technology and business process services firms in the world. As founder and executive chairman of the board, Mr. Godin, the controlling shareholder, oversees the company worldwide, providing leadership in the areas of strategic planning, new development and business expansion.

Indira Samarasekera is the president of the University of Alberta. Building strong international partnerships is a signature feature of her leadership. Recent institutional-level agreements—notably with the Helmholtz Association of German research centres, the Li Ka-shing Foundation, and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, IIT Delhi and IIT Roorkee—illustrate the University of Alberta’s commitment to working with the international community to find solutions to shared challenges.