October 21, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, the Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture), today announced that starting tomorrow, Harper government ministers, members of Parliament, business and industry leaders and other key stakeholders will be holding events highlighting the vast benefits the Canada-European Union trade agreement will bring to every corner of Canada. As part of Small Business Week, a Benefits for SMEs website was also officially launched alongside Dan Kelly, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), which shows how Canada’s critical small business sector will benefit from this historic agreement.
“As Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, this is an historic win for Canada,” said Minister Fast. “The Canada-EU trade agreement will open new markets for Canadian exporters throughout Europe and generate significant benefits, jobs and opportunities for all Canadians. The benefits of this agreement are equivalent to creating almost 80,000 new jobs or increasing the average Canadian household’s annual income by $1,000 and boosting our economy by $12 billion annually.”
Stating that creating new jobs and new opportunities remains the government’s top priority, Minister Baird noted that Canada is now one of the only developed countries to have preferential access to the world’s two largest markets: the European Union and the United States.
“The competitive edge and combined access to these markets—and their 800 million plus affluent consumers—will make Canada the envy of trading nations all over the world,” said Baird. “It will also make Canada an even more attractive destination for investors and manufacturers, which will create thousands of new jobs and new opportunities for all Canadians. As Canada’s most ambitious and comprehensive agreement ever, it’s not just a good deal, it’s an historic deal.”
Minister Bernier highlighted the vast benefits the Canada-EU trade agreement will generate for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the agreement is creating for iconic Canadian products like maple syrup, and the agriculture and agri-food industry as a whole. Canada’s agricultural exports to the EU totalled an annual average of $2.5 billion between 2010 and 2012. Exports from Quebec alone were worth an average of $688.5 million over the same period, making agriculture the province’s third-largest exporting sector to the EU.
“This agreement is a big win for the families in Quebec and across Canada who rely on our world-class agriculture sector for their livelihood,” said Minister Bernier. “We’re also helping our critical small business community expand and succeed in the lucrative EU market by removing red tape, establishing clear and predictable trading rules and making Canadian products more competitive through tariff elimination. It’s not just a good deal; for Quebec’s iconic maple syrup industry and other key sectors, the removal of high tariffs makes it a sweet deal for everyone.”
As Small Business Week begins, the ministers noted the historic opportunities that exist through this agreement that will benefit SMEs and recommended that Canadians join in supporting small business on October 25, Small Business Day in Canada. They complimented CFIB’s Shop Small Biz website, which brings thousands of offerings from small businesses to consumers from coast to coast.
“As we enter Small Business Week in Canada, it is particularly appropriate to highlight the opportunities of the Canada-EU trade agreement,” said the CFIB’s Dan Kelly. “While some may think that it is only big business that trades with Europe, over 5000 of CFIB’s small business members currently import from or export to the EU. Eliminating tariffs and reducing red tape and paperwork were thought by small firms to be the chief advantages of the deal.”
Beginning tomorrow, the cross-country benefits blitz will show clearly how the elimination of 98 percent of all EU tariffs on the first day that the agreement comes into force will translate into increased profits and opportunities for Canadian businesses of all sizes in every part of the country.
“Whether you are a fisherman or small business owner in Atlantic Canada, a maple syrup producer in Quebec, an auto worker in Ontario, a Prairie farmer or an engineer from the West—you will benefit from the Canada-EU trade agreement,” said Minister Fast. “I’m pleased to announce that our government and our key stakeholder partners will be holding events that highlight just how transformational this agreement will be for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. It’s not just a good deal, it’s an excellent deal—for every sector and every region—and beginning tomorrow, we’ll be showing this very clearly.”
The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is by far Canada’s most ambitious trade initiative ever. It is broader in scope and deeper in ambition than the historic North American Free Trade Agreement.