The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and his provincial and territorial counterparts responsible for international trade issued a joint statement following their annual meeting in Ottawa:
“Today, we met to discuss Canada’s international trade agenda and to exchange ideas on providing Canadian businesses and workers with the best possible access to lucrative markets around the world.
“Ministers endorsed the need for trade diversification efforts to focus on high-growth markets around the world, such as China and India, and agreed that a collaborative approach, involving the federal government, the provinces and the territories, would maximize the benefits for businesses looking to expand and succeed abroad.
“There is no larger integrated economy in the world than the European Union, with its more than 500 million consumers and GDP of over $17 trillion. Accordingly, there is no more important Canadian trade negotiating priority today than the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). As we speak, the federal government, the provinces and territories are working together on what will be our most important international trade initiative since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“Trade is equivalent to 60 percent of our economy and is linked to one in five jobs. At a time of economic uncertainty, we need to create new jobs and prosperity by looking to our global trading partners, including Europe. Canadian workers in our aerospace, aluminum, wood, transportation, agriculture, fish and seafood, and renewable energy sectors—to name just a few—have a vested interest in our gaining increased access to the European Union market.
“The benefits to Canadian workers and their families following the implementation of the CETA are estimated to be: a 20 percent boost in bilateral trade and a $12 billion annual increase to Canada’s economy. That is the equivalent of a $1,000 increase to the average Canadian family income—or 80,000 new jobs.
“We remain committed to an ambitious and balanced outcome to these negotiations and we look forward to the benefits that will result.”
For more information on the trade mission, please visit Canada’s Annual Trade Meeting.