Whether it is a sail, a motor, or a heart, everything that moves needs something to push it forward. Canada’s economy too, depends on engines. One of our most powerful, especially in challenging economic times, is trade.
“Our country’s prosperity is linked to reaching beyond our borders for economic opportunities that serve to grow Canada’s trade and investment,” says the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway.
A joint study with the European Union has found that an ambitious free trade agreement between Canada and the EU could create 80,000 new Canadian jobs and add $1000 worth of extra income to the average Canadian family’s income. Our government hopes to roll out that agreement, called the Canadian European Trade Agreement (CETA) before the end of 2012.
The European Union has 27 member states and a population of over 500 million. It is the world’s largest integrated economy, with a gross domestic product of over $17 trillion. After the U.S., it is Canada’s largest merchandise export market. Our top merchandise exports in 2011 to the EU were precious stones and metals, machinery and equipment, mineral fuels and oils, mineral ores and aerospace products.
But we also import from the EU. In 2011, our top merchandise imports were machinery and equipment, mineral fuels and oils, pharmaceutical products, vehicles and vehicle parts and electrical and electronic machinery and equipment.
Minister Fast wants Canadians to know that our government remains squarely focused on what matters to Canadian workers and families: growth and long-term prosperity. He added that deepening Canada’s trading relationships with lucrative markets like the EU are key to these efforts.
To that end, in late April, numerous members of the government fanned out across Canada to make Canadians aware of how trade with the EU would benefit our country. CETA is an exciting opportunity for Canadian workers and businesses. Once in place, it would create jobs, spur growth and encourage long-term prosperity in every region of our country.
Many business leaders have voiced strong approval for freer trading arrangements. Catherine Swift, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says that many businesses welcome the CETA agreement as it will make it easier for these firms to take advantage of opportunities in the enormous European market.
Kathleen Sullivan, Executive Director of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, agrees. “A Canada-EU trade agreement is vital to expanding markets for Canadian agriculture and food products. Canada exports half of its agri-food production. It is critical that we continue to identify new export opportunities for our high-quality products.”
President and CEO of Alliance Grain Traders Inc., Murad Al-Katib, also agrees. “A trade agreement with the EU represents an opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to increase growth and create jobs by diversifying their exports.”
For more information on the benefits CETA would bring each province and territory, and a listing of myths versus facts, please visit: www.international.gc.ca.