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November 27, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today met with the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) Advisory Board, during which time they reviewed the first year of Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP).
Under its pro-export, pro-jobs plan, the Harper government delivered on its commitment to eliminate tariffs and provide preferred market access for Canadian businesses and protection for Canadian investment through:
- the conclusion of negotiations and release of the historic Canada-Europe trade agreement complete text;
- the conclusion of Canada’s first free trade agreement in Asia with the landmark Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement;
- the coming into force of the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement—Canada’s seventh trade agreement in the Americas—and the modernization of our trade agreement with Chile; and
- a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) with China, bringing the total of FIPAs to 28 with countries around the world.
As Minister Fast pointed out during the meeting, historic trade agreements require historic trade promotion efforts and support.
As committed to in GMAP, Canadians businesses, especially our SMEs, can count on the following tools and services to help them seize new opportunities and boost their exports:
- more than 25 trade commissioners embedded in business associations across Canada, providing direct support and serving as a liaison to ensure that the government is responsive to the needs of Canadian businesses;
- the opening of new Canadian Technology Accelerators in France, the U.K. and India, bringing the total to 12, in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada;
- support of the Enterprise Canada Network, through Export Development Canada and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, providing Canadian SMEs with online access to 30,000 business profiles in the European market;
- the opportunity to work closely with the recently launched Coalition for Canada-Europe Trade, representing leading business associations and organizations committed to ensuring that the agreement achieves its full potential; and
- the opening of four new trade offices in China, bringing Canada’s trade network support to 15 locations and 100 trade commissioners.
Minister Fast also provided an overview of the vigorous trade promotion efforts and activities currently under way in order to better assist current and prospective exporters, so SMEs can realize their full export potential.
Key elements include:
- the launch by Minister Fast last week of a series of cross-country Go Global workshops, bringing tools and practical information under a one-stop shop from all export agencies to SMEs so they can take advantage of export business opportunities. The next workshops will be held in Mississauga, Ontario, on Friday, November 28 and Halifax, Nova Scotia, on December 5, 2014, with dozens more planned from coast to coast in 2015;
- enhanced coordination among the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Export Development Canada, the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, by aligning their activities, facilitating referrals and sharing market intelligence and information to help SMEs export, or to prepare them for export readiness; and
- Minister Fast’s invitation to participants to accompany him on his upcoming trade mission to South Korea in February 2015 to take advantage of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. This mission follows 13 trade missions to 20 countries in 2014.
Under GMAP, the Harper government committed to develop comprehensive strategies and stakeholder linkages to keep Canada at the forefront of key economic sectors and strengthen Canada’s trade, investment and people-to-people ties. In the first year of GMAP, these commitments have been achieved, with all strategies and linkages being implemented:
- the launch in January 2014 of a new comprehensive international education strategy to attract international students to Canada and entrench the ties between world-class Canadian educational institutions and their global counterparts;
- the launch in February 2014 of a defence procurement strategy with a clear export-oriented component and support;
- the launch in November 2014 of an extractive sector strategy to further the interests and leadership of Canadian companies abroad, including the release of the enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for Canada’s Extractive Sector Abroad; and
- the announcement in November 2014 by Minister Fast and Brad Woodside, Mayor of the City of Fredericton and President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), of a joint working group between FCM and DFATD. The announcement also highlighted the 83 local organizations that have received more than $4 million in funding through the Invest Canada-Community Initiatives program to help attract job-creating investment.
Thanks to the advice of the SME Advisory Board and under GMAP, these historic efforts will benefit Canadian businesses and workers, boost our exports and create jobs and opportunities for years to come.
- One in five Canadian jobs is dependent on exports, representing 60 percent of our economy.
- Since 2006, the Harper government has concluded free trade agreements with 38 countries, bringing the total to 43.
- There are more than one million SMEs across Canada, with 41,000 currently exporting—11,000 of these to emerging markets.
- Minister Fast released GMAP on November 27, 2013, with the goal of doubling to 21,000 the number of Canada’s SMEs exporting to emerging markets.
“Opening new markets to boost Canadian exports creates jobs and prosperity for hard-working Canadians. “2014 has been the most successful year for international trade in Canadian history. Our government is delivering on its GMAP commitments, and we will continue our vigorous trade promotion efforts in support of Canadian businesses.”
– Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade
“We welcome these GMAP significant achievements and the recent launch of the ‘Go Global’ workshops across Canada, offered in partnership with all export agencies. These workshops are not only important, but they come at a critical moment when SMEs are preparing to take advantage of the new free trade agreements and export opportunities around the world.”
– Jim Reynolds, President and CEO of Padre Software Inc. and Chair of the SME Advisory Board
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade