Friday, June 20, 2008

Government of Canada Expanding Trade Opportunities At Home and Abroad

(Minister of International Trade)

Canada is moving along its aggressive trade strategy by establishing 10 new trade offices in three countries and is expanding its Trade Commissioner Service in Canada with four new satellite offices. The announcement was made by the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, during a speech delivered for International Trade Day, in Mississauga.

“Canada is a trading nation. We are expanding our international footprint to maintain Canada’s competitive advantage in key markets, and to bolster our domestic economy and quality of life for all Canadians,” said Minister Emerson. “Today’s announcement is another example of our government’s commitment to keep our economy strong. These new trade offices will help provide our companies with the tools they need to access global supply chains and expand their commercial activities.”

Minister Emerson announced that new trade offices will open in six cities across China (Chengdu, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Wuhan), two in Mexico (Tijuana, Villahermosa) and two in Brazil (Porto Alegre, Recife). These are in addition to two new offices in India (Hyderabad, Kolkata) and one in Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar) announced in April. The government will also add new trade staff to existing offices in Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, India and Panama.

“Canadian business has been demanding more service in growing markets abroad as well as enhanced local service in Canada,” said Minister Emerson. “Today this government is delivering on our commitment to the business community to improve these services.”

At home, new satellite offices will be established in Kitchener, Ottawa, Victoria and Windsor. Additional trade officers will also be added to existing regional offices.

“These offices play a key role in encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises to seek international opportunities and succeed in new markets,” said Minister Emerson. “Expanding our domestic points of service means more Canadian businesses will be active on the world stage.”

During his International Trade Day speech, Minister Emerson outlined the milestones Canada reached in trade and investment over the past year. The government has vastly increased bilateral ties with Canada’s global partners, in keeping with its commitments under the Global Commerce Strategy. This year, Canada signed a new free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Free Trade Association countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

In addition, Canada signed an FTA with Peru and concluded negotiations with Colombia. The government is continuing negotiations with Korea, the Caribbean Community, the Dominican Republic, Jordan, Singapore and the Central American Four countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, while at the same time looking ahead to possible new initiatives with countries such as Panama.

Canada has concluded negotiation of foreign investment promotion and protection agreements with India and Jordan, and negotiations with a number of other countries are ongoing. Canada also concluded new air agreements with Jordan, Iceland, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Barbados, the Philippines and Panama, and launched negotiations with the European Union for a comprehensive open skies agreement that would govern air services between Canada and all 27 EU countries. Moreover, Canada expanded its work with China and India through existing science and technology agreements. Just last week, our country took another step to deepen and broaden our commercial and economic relations with France with the signature of a Canada-France Joint Action Plan.

“We know that trade follows investment,” said Minister Emerson. “With all these bilateral arrangements, Canada is attaining a stronger position to climb global value chains, increase inward and outward investment, gain preferential market access for Canadian firms and, ultimately, generate prosperity at home.”

The new trade missions are part of the government’s Global Commerce Strategy, which provides $50 million per year to further develop Canada’s trade and investment interests at home and abroad.