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Second Trade and Gender Committee meeting under the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) Trade and Gender Chapter

Canada and Chile held their Second Trade and Gender Committee meeting under the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) Trade and Gender Chapter on May 7th, 2020 via video conference. The Committee meeting was co-chaired by Canada (represented by André François Giroux, Director, Trade Agreements Secretariat, Global Affairs Canada, and Anne Malépart, Acting Director, International and Intergovernmental Relations, Women and Gender Equality Canada) and Chile (represented by Angélica Romero, Acting Director, Multilateral Economic Affairs, and Ignacia Simonetti, Head of the Gender Department at Chile’s Under-Secretariat of International Economic Affairs). Officials from Chile’s Ministry of Women and Gender Equity and from Global Affairs Canada, including the Canadian Embassy in Chile, as well as Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada were also present.

The Committee began with a review of the past year’s activities and an assessment of progress and achievements to date. This provided an opportunity for both parties to highlight the enduring impact of these activities and the valuable opportunity provided by Chile’s 2019 Presidency of APEC to leverage other opportunities to advance trade and gender in this and other multilateral fora. Canada and Chile also noted the important role of open and direct two-way communications in advancing issues around trade and gender.

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 the special measures taken under the Emergency Economic Plan aimed at providing support and relief to families and businesses most impacted by the current crisis. Chile also shared details about the initiatives “ApoyameAquí Website” and the “TodosxlasPymes platform”, designed to promote online commerce and facilitate the digitalization of SMEs, as well as those in response to the increasing reports of domestic violence during the crisis.

For its part, Canada shared how its Government was applying a Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) lens to its emergency response to address the gendered impacts of the pandemic, and ensure support is directed to vulnerable groups, including women, who face greater challenges and risks due to their health, social and economic circumstances. Canada has been applying innovative approaches to the collection of sex disaggregated data and implementing substantial measures, in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, to minimize the economic and social impacts of the crisis. Canada also presented other specific initiatives such as the establishment of a Task Force on Equity Seeking Communities and Covid-19 to allow ongoing information sharing, the alignment of strategies and policies, which has helped the Government of Canada to ensure its response considers the distinct needs of diverse communities. Canada also outlined the recently implemented support for women entrepreneurs and small business owners, including the creation of a new emergency fund, available through eligible financial institutions, to provide interest-free loans to small businesses.

Additional updates provided by both parties included sharing information on their experience implementing their other Trade and Gender Chapters, and other initiatives taking place in other multilateral fora, such as the Pacific Alliance and the WTO. The Committee also considered the Trade and Gender workplan and highlighted activities to take place within the next 6 months that would engage officials and stakeholders through the use of technology. Chile and Canada discussed how to integrate and advance towards the implementation of APEC La Serena Roadmap and the Arrangement on Trade and Gender between Canada, Chile and New Zealand, under the Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG), and agreed to leverage joint opportunities.

In closing, participants were joined by Felipe Lopeandía, Chile’s Director of Bilateral Economic Affairs at the Undersecretariat of International Economic Affairs, who celebrated the lasting bilateral relationship and reaffirmed our shared commitment to continue to advance in the development of cooperation initiatives that promote gender equality in trade.

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