Third Trade and Gender Committee meeting under the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) Trade and Gender Chapter
Canada and Chile held their Third Trade and Gender Committee meeting under the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) Trade and Gender Chapter on May 14th, 2021 via video conference. The Committee meeting was co-chaired by Chile (represented by Angélica Romero, Director, Multilateral Economic Affairs) and Canada (represented by Sean Clark, Director for the Trade Agreements Secretariat at Global Affairs Canada, and Anne Malépart, Acting Director for the International and Intergovernmental Relations at the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality).
Opening remarks were delivered by Felipe Lopeandía, Director General for Bilateral Economic Affairs at the Undersecretariat of International Economics Affairs in Chile, and Kendal Hembroff, Director General for the Trade Negotiations Branch at Global Affairs Canada. They applauded the work of the Trade and Gender Committee, particularly over the last year, as both countries tackled the challenges of economic recovery from the pandemic and emphasized the need to do more to make sure no one is left behind.
The Parties then began their session with a review of the past year’s activities and an assessment of progress and achievements to date. Both Canada and Chile acknowledged the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which pushed them to adjust their workplan and revisit their priorities in light of the current circumstances.
Some of the challenges and areas of improvement that were discussed during the meeting were:
- Engaging with other committees to coordinate joint initiatives, with the aim of mainstreaming gender and trade issues across committees.
- Ensuring that the next work plan includes activities aimed at addressing the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on women’s economic empowerment.
- Considering a sectoral focus to activities such as digital trade, clean technology, etc.
Next, the Parties shared information on what their respective governments have been doing internally and internationally to help women entrepreneurs as part of their emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chile presented on several initiatives the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality is leading, such as initiatives to tackle gender-based violence; government support packages and job protection programs targeting women; their comprehensive digital agenda that will enable women and girls to play a leading role in the digital revolution, among others.
Likewise, Canada highlighted some of the initiatives it is implementing in response to COVID 19, including the creation of a Task Force on Women in the Economy, made up of a diverse group of experts, to advance gender equity and address systemic barriers and inequities faced by women. Furthermore, in April 2021, Canada tabled Budget 2021, which proposed a number of significant investments to support women returning to the work force, including:
- establishing a Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System;
- supporting Women Entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy;
- strengthening Diversity in Corporate Governance; and
- advancing a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.
Additional updates provided by both Parties included sharing information on their experience implementing their other Trade and Gender Chapters. Chile updated Canada on its progress in implementing its Chapters with Argentina and Uruguay, and also the women’s economic empowerment agenda of the Pacific Alliance. Canada shared internal Trade and Gender initiatives, such as the creation of the Gender and Trade Advisory Group, and its experience in participating in the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades Outlook survey.
The Committee also reviewed the Trade and Gender workplan and highlighted activities to take place within the next few months that would engage officials and stakeholders. Apart from the planned activities under the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTAGA), it was proposed that the Trade and Gender Committee explore the possibility of coordinating a joint activity with the Labor Committee, as well as an information sharing activity on STEM.
Finally, Chile and Canada agreed to collaborate and leverage opportunities through the WTO Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender and the implementation the GTAGA, among others.
It was also agreed that going forward, the Trade and Gender Committee will publish a joint report on its activities once the work plan is completed.
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