News Release Article from  Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Archived - New Free Trade Deal Caps Successful Year for Canada in Global Commerce

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

June 7, 2007
No. 76
The Honourable David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the
Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, today welcomed the conclusion
of free trade negotiations with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries
of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. He also announced the launch of
free trade negotiations with Colombia and Peru and with the Dominican Republic. The
Minister highlighted these and other global commerce achievements in a speech
delivered on the occasion of International Trade Day
(http://www.international.gc.ca/commerce/sot/menu-en.asp).
"One year ago, I argued that as a trading nation, Canada cannot be complacent when it
comes to actively engaging in the new global economy," said Minister Emerson. "The
conclusion of negotiations toward our first free trade agreement in six years caps off a
good year for Canada on the trade front. But much work remains and I look forward to
further progress in securing Canada's place as a global trade leader."
The Minister noted that when implemented, the free trade agreement (FTA) with EFTA,
Canada's first with European countries, will confer a distinct competitive advantage to
Canadian business by providing preferential access to an important market. He added
that this FTA will provide a strategic platform for Canadians to expand commercial ties
throughout Europe.
Minister Emerson also welcomed the launch of FTA negotiations with Peru and
Colombia, two members of the Andean Community, and with the Dominican Republic,
noting that officials will be meeting for the first rounds of formal talks in the coming
weeks.
"The government has signalled its intention to re-engage with Latin America and the
Caribbean," said the Minister. "Strengthening commercial ties with key partners is an
important element of our strategy for the Americas."
The government will continue to actively engage stakeholders to ensure that their
interests and concerns are taken into account during the negotiations.
The government is pursuing new trade and investment arrangements with key partners
in Europe, in the Americas and in Asia with the goal of creating the right conditions for
Canadian business to compete internationally, as outlined in the government's
Advantage Canada plan.
Canada and EFTA countries will work to complete the necessary steps to implement
the agreement as soon as possible.
Minister Emerson also marked International Trade Day by launching, on behalf of
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, two annual publications: the Eighth
Annual Report on Canada's State of Trade, which reviews Canada's performance in
international trade and investment in 2006, and Canada's International Market Access
Report 2007.
Every year, International Trade Day brings together the business community, senior
government officials, industry stakeholders and academics to discuss issues and
priorities in international trade and economics.
Backgrounders are attached on the Canada-EFTA free trade agreement; the initiation
of FTA negotiations with the Andean Community countries of Colombia and Peru and
with the Dominican Republic; and the Eighth Annual Report on Canada's State of
Trade.
- 30 -
For further information, media representatives may contact:
Jennifer Chiu
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and
the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics
613-992-7332
Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
http://www.international.gc.ca
Backgrounder
CANADA-EFTA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
The conclusion of free trade negotiations with the European Free Trade Association
(EFTA) countries is in keeping with the Government of Canada's commitment to create
the right conditions for Canadian business to compete internationally, as outlined in
Advantage Canada, the government's plan to enhance our competitiveness and secure
our future prosperity. It represents a concrete step in moving Canada's trade agenda
forward.
Benefits for Canada
This is Canada's first FTA with European countries. Once implemented, the agreement
will bring significant benefits to Canadian business by:
 
•         eliminating all EFTA tariffs on Canadian industrial exports, including in key export
areas such as forest products, pulp and paper products, manufactured housing,
aluminum, cosmetics and motor vehicles;
•         providing improved access for specific Canadian agricultural products, including
frozen foods and selected beverages, durum wheat, canola oil, honey and
various fruits and vegetables;
•         eliminating EFTA export subsidies on agriculture and agri-food products covered
by the FTA;
•         providing increased market access for Canadians to expand commercial ties with
EFTA countries;
•         putting Canada on an equal footing with competitors who already have FTAs
with EFTA, including Mexico, Chile, South Korea and the European Union;
•         better positioning Canadian business to compete in Europe and participate in
regional value chains; and
•         further stimulating international business interest in Canada as a trade and
investment partner.
Canada-EFTA Commercial Relations
Canada's commercial ties with the EFTA countries are already significant. Taken
together, the four members of EFTA are Canada's eighth-largest merchandise export
destination.
 
•         In 2006, two-way merchandise trade was valued at $10.7 billion (Canadian
exports: $3.1 billion; imports: $7.6 billion).
•         Two-way investment stocks were roughly $22.3 billion in 2005 (Canadian direct
investment stock in EFTA countries: $7.4 billion; foreign direct investment into
Canada from EFTA countries: $14.8 billion).
•         In 2004, two-way trade in services was valued at $1.6 billion between Canada
and Switzerland and at $573 million between Canada and Norway (2005
numbers are not yet available).
The European Free Trade Association
The European Free Trade Association is an intergovernmental organization,
established in 1960, that promotes free trade and economic integration for the benefit
of its member states: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
The EFTA members rank among the countries with the highest GDP per capita in the
world and are traditionally very open to international trade. Taken together, the EFTA
member states constituted the world's 10th-largest merchandise trader and the fifth-largest trader in commercial services in 2005.
They also represent a sizable market: EFTA's combined GDP (2005) amounted to
$704 billion-a GDP roughly comparable to that of India ($831 billion) or the Republic
of Korea ($834 billion).
Three of the EFTA member states (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) have been
joined into a single European Economic Area with the European Union since 1994.
For more information, visit http://www.international.gc.ca/tna-nac/efta-en.asp.
Backgrounder
LAUNCH OF FREE TRADE NEGOTIATIONS
1. Canada-Andean Free Trade Agreement Negotiations
The Andean Community countries of Colombia and Peru are established and growing
destinations for Canadian business and offer excellent opportunities for Canadian
goods and services exporters and investors. The initiation of free trade negotiations
with the Andean Community countries of Colombia and Peru will also contribute to the
shared goal of deepening development through economic integration within the
Americas. Canada will seek to level the playing field for Canadian business vis-à-vis
their competitors. In keeping with Canada's approach to FTA negotiations, Canada will
also seek to address the social dimensions of economic integration through the
negotiation of provisions on labour and the environment.
 
•         Colombia and Peru represent markets of 72 million people with a combined GDP
of $182 billion.
•         Canadian investment in Colombia and Peru was valued at $3.4 billion in 2006.
•         Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Colombia totalled $1.1 billion
in 2006.
•         Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Peru totalled $2.4 billion in
2006.
•         Canada's commercial services exports to Colombia and Peru totalled
approximately $63 million in 2004 (the latest year for which official data is
available).
•         The successful conclusion of an agreement would expand opportunities for
Canadian exporters and investors in a broad range of sectors, including
agriculture, mining and financial services.
Canada remains interested in expanding commercial ties with the other Andean
Community countries of Bolivia and Ecuador, and is open to the possibility of these
countries joining this initiative.
For more information on the Andean Community FTA negotiations, please visit
http://www.international.gc.ca/tna-nac/and-en.asp.
2. Canada-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement Negotiations
An FTA with the Dominican Republic will stimulate the growth of our commercial
relationship and help level the playing field for Canadian business vis-à-vis their
competitors who are currently benefiting from preferential market access terms. It will
also help advance Canada's foreign policy objectives in the region.
 
•         Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and the Dominican Republic is
increasing and totalled nearly $277 million in 2006.
•         Canadian direct investment in the Dominican Republic was valued at $1.8 billion
in 2006.
•         Canada's commercial services exports to the Dominican Republic totalled
approximately $24 million in 2004 (the latest year for which official data is
available).
•         The successful conclusion of an agreement would expand opportunities for
Canadian exporters and investors in a broad range of sectors, including
agriculture, mining, communications, financial services and tourism.
For more information on the Dominican Republic FTA negotiations, please visit
http://www.international.gc.ca/tna-nac/dr-en.asp.
Backgrounder
THE EIGHTH ANNUAL REPORT ON CANADA'S STATE OF TRADE
The Report on Canada's State of Trade is an annual report produced by Foreign Affairs
and International Trade Canada. This comprehensive document analyzes key
developments in Canada's international trade and investment performance against the
background of domestic economic trends.
This year's edition includes a special report on "the rise of global value chains," which
illustrates the changing nature of international commerce and the implications for
Canada.
Highlights of this year's publication:
 
•         The Canadian economy has been performing very well. GDP growth was
2.7 percent last year.
•         Unemployment reached a 30-year low of 6.3 percent.
•         Canadian exports of goods and services increased by 1.1 percent to a record
$523.7 billion, while imports increased by 4.2 percent to $486.5 billion.
•         Canadian companies have been actively expanding abroad. In 2006, Canadian
companies owned $74.4 billion more abroad than foreign companies owned in
Canada.
•         Canadian direct investment abroad reached $523.3 billion in 2006, an increase
of 13.8 percent over 2005.
•         Inward investment reached $448.9 billion last year, a 10.1 percent increase over
the previous year.

Search for related information by keyword

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada Economics and Industry

Date modified: