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Canada Notes Significant Progress On Free Trade In 2011

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

28 December 2011

The Canadian government has noted the conclusion of a productive third round of negotiations with India towards a free trade agreement, in talks in Delhi and at the Eight Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation, rounding off a hugely sucessful year for Canada in its quest to achieve freer trade links with its trading partners.

Ed Fast, Canada's Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway noted that the government has made significant progress during the year towards its free trade agenda, with the highlights including:

  • The entry into force of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement on August 15;
  • The conclusion of negotiations toward a Canada-Honduras free trade agreement;
  • The tabling of legislation to enact free trade agreements with Jordan and Panama;
  • Continued progress toward a Canada-European Union trade agreement and a Canada-India trade agreement;
  • Canada’s signing of the historic Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which will combat trade in counterfeit and pirated goods while helping to ensure innovation- and knowledge-based prosperity;
  • Adoption of the Joint Declaration on Trade and Investment with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to increase Canada’s trade and investment ties in the region;
  • The launch of exploratory trade talks with Mercosur, South America’s largest common market;
  • Minister-led trade missions to Brazil, China and India - three of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the world; and,
  • The announcement in November of Canada’s intention to enter into formal consultations to join negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“Jobs and economic growth to benefit Canadian businesses, workers and their families continues to be our government’s top priority,” said Fast. “With one in five Canadian jobs linked to trade, deepening Canada’s trading relationships in priority markets around the world is key to protecting and strengthening the financial security of hard-working Canadians.”

“Canada remains a strong and active supporter of the multilateral trading system. We are working to ensure that the credibility and effectiveness of the WTO system is safeguarded,” said Fast. “In these uncertain economic times, protectionism is poisonous to our efforts to create jobs and economic growth. Simply put, there is no better job creator than free and open trade.”

On free trade negotiations currently under way in priority markets around the world, Fast expressed optimism with the progress being made toward a Canada-India trade agreement. The third round of negotiations was held December 13-16, 2011, in Delhi.

“As agreed with my counterpart, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, during my recent trade mission to India, our countries are committed to an ambitious schedule for negotiations,” said Fast. “Discussions are advancing, and Canada is aiming to conclude negotiations in 2013.”

In less than six years, Canada has concluded new free trade agreements with nine countries: Colombia, Jordan, Panama, Peru, the European Free Trade Association member states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, and most recently with Honduras.

TAGS: tax | business | Iceland | India | China | Colombia | Liechtenstein | Norway | agreements | legislation | Brazil | Canada | Jordan | Peru | Switzerland | trade | Honduras | Panama

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