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Harper Government Committed to Strengthening Economic Ties with Europe’s Emerging Economies

March 1, 2013 - Gerald Keddy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and for the Atlantic Gateway, today addressed foreign policy and business leaders at the Atlantic Council of Canada’s first conference on trade and investment opportunities in Southeastern Europe, where he highlighted Canada’s commitment to open new markets around the world.

“Our government is focused on what matters to Canadians—jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Parliamentary Secretary Keddy. “As the world’s traditional economic powers continue to struggle and emerging economies experience the bulk of growth, Canada is well positioned to remain ahead of the curve, thanks to the most ambitious plan to open new markets for our exporters in Canadian history.”

In his speech, Parliamentary Secretary Keddy highlighted the Government of Canada’s ambitious trade expansion plan as well as Canadian investment and expertise at work in Southeastern Europe’s industrial, infrastructure, mining and agricultural sectors.

“When Canadian businesses succeed abroad, they create jobs and prosperity for Canadians in every region of our country,” added Parliamentary Secretary Keddy. “World-class Canadian project management, engineering and infrastructure companies are sharing their expertise with our trading partners throughout Southeastern Europe.

“Our government remains focused on the economy, one of our government’s top priorities, as outlined by the Prime Minister,” concluded Parliamentary Secretary Keddy.

Total trade between Canada and Southeastern Europe, which comprises Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey, has increased more than 70 percent since 2007, to nearly $3.6 billion at the end of 2012.

Canada is negotiating a comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA) with the European Union, the largest integrated market in the world, with 500 million consumers, and has had an agreement with the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) in force since 2009.

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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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