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Canada-EU trade agreement to open new markets in Europe
Apr '12
The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, told the Economic Club of Canada that an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement will be the cornerstone of the Harper government's ambitious pro-trade plan, and that benefits will be generated for hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Minister Fast's keynote address to the Economic Club of Canada is the official launch of 18 events being held in every province. Harper government ministers, parliamentary secretaries and members of parliament are meeting with workers, business and community leaders and stakeholders to highlight the range of benefits an ambitious Canada-EU trade agreement will bring to all regions of Canada across many sectors of the Canadian economy.

“A trade agreement with Europe is by far the most ambitious trade initiative in our nation's history, with the potential to be broader in scope and deeper in ambition than the historic North American Free Trade Agreement,” said Minister Fast. “Whether you are a fisherman, farmer, manufacturer or high-tech worker, the benefits of an ambitious agreement to you, your family and your community will be real and significant.”

The EU is the world's largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of over $17 trillion. A joint Canada-EU study found that an ambitious trade agreement with the European Union will benefit Canadian workers and businesses significantly, by boosting bilateral trade by 20 percent and increasing Canada's economy by $12 billion annually. That translates to an increase of $1,000 to the average Canadian family's income, or 80,000 new jobs across the country.

In order to ensure Canadians have the facts about the benefits that would be generated by a Canada-EU comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA), the Harper government also launched a CETA-focused website as a continuation of what have been the most transparent and collaborative trade negotiations Canada has ever conducted.

“Unfortunately, anti-trade activists continue to spread falsehoods about trade,” said Minister Fast. “These are the same falsehoods spread about the NAFTA negotiations a generation ago by the same groups. They were proven wrong then, and they are just as wrong now. We must fight their fear-mongering with facts, and their falsehoods with reality.”

Minister Fast concluded his speech by stating clearly that the Harper government remains squarely focused on what matters to Canadians: jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Deepening Canada's trading relationships with lucrative markets like the EU are key to these efforts.

“Where others think Canada should turn inward and cower in fear of the global economy, our government rejects this view because we know that the best way to create jobs and prosperity is to embrace the global economy, and put our goods, services, expertise and Canadians themselves to work around the world,” said Minister Fast. “The foundation of the most ambitious free trade plan in Canada's history will be solidified with an ambitious agreement with the EU.”

In less than six years, the Harper government has concluded free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama, the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein and, most recently Honduras. It is also in negotiation with many others, including India and Japan.

Economic Club of Canada

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