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Minister Fast Marks Historic Year for Canadian Trade and Investment

December 8, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today met with key business associations and organizations on Parliament Hill to review the historic achievements in 2014 under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP). Under this pro-export, pro-jobs plan, the Government of Canada delivered on its commitment to eliminate tariffs, provide preferential market access for Canadian businesses and protect Canadian investment through:

  • the conclusion of negotiations and release of the complete text of the historic Canada-European Union trade agreement;
  • the conclusion of Canada’s first free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region with the landmark Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which has received royal assent and is expected to come into force on January 1, 2015;
  • the coming into force of the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement—Canada’s seventh trade agreement in the Americas—and the modernization of the trade agreement with Chile; and
  • a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) with China, bringing to 28 the number of FIPAs Canada has with countries around the world.

Minister Fast speaks at Go Global event.

As Minister Fast pointed out during the meeting, historic trade agreements require historic trade promotion efforts and support. In line with commitments in GMAP, Canadian businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can count on enhanced tools and services to help them seize new opportunities and boost their exports. In 2014, the government:

  • embedded more trade commissioners in business associations across Canada, bringing the total to more than 25 commissioners directly supporting and serving as liaisons to ensure that the government is responsive to the needs of Canadian businesses;
  • launched new Canadian technology accelerators (CTAs) in France, the United Kingdom and India; opened in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada, these bring the total number of CTAs to 12;
  • supported the Enterprise Canada Network; accessed through Export Development Canada and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, the network provides Canadian SMEs with online access to 30,000 business profiles in the European market;
  • recognized the recently launched Coalition for Canada-Europe Trade, which represents leading business associations and organizations committed to ensuring that the Canada-EU trade agreement achieves its full potential; and
  • opened four new trade offices in China, which bring 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 month of a series of cross-country Go Global workshops, which provide SMEs with tools and practical information from all of Canada’s export agencies in one place, so they can take advantage of export business opportunities.
    • workshops have been held in Richmond, British Columbia, Mississauga, Ontario, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, reaching over 300 SME participants;
    • dozens more Go Global workshops will be held in communities across Canada 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 prepare for export readiness; and
    • trade missions abroad in order to provide on-the-ground support for Canadian businesses in foreign markets; Minister Fast led 13 trade missions in 2014, reaching a total of 20 countries. 

Under GMAP, the government committed to developing comprehensive strategies and stakeholder linkages to keep Canada at the forefront of key economic sectors and strengthen its trade, investment and people-to-people ties. In the first year of GMAP, the government has delivered on these commitments and implemented all strategies and linkages:

  • the launch in January 2014 of a comprehensive international education strategy to attract innovative researchers and international students to Canada and enrich the ties between world-class Canadian educational institutions and their global counterparts;
  • the launch in February 2014 of an export-oriented defence procurement strategy;
  • 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 strategy for Canada’s extractive sector abroad; and
  • the November 2014 announcement 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 Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. 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.

These historic efforts in the first year of GMAP will benefit Canadian businesses and workers, boost exports and create jobs and opportunities for years to come.

In 2015, the government will continue to build on the momentum of the most significant year for trade in Canadian history by:

  • holding Go Global workshops in every region of the country to continue supporting SME export success;
  • leading trade missions to priority markets for Canadian exporters; Minister Fast will lead his first trade mission of the year to South Korea from February 8 to 13; In addition, during the first half of 2015, Minister Fast will lead trade missions to:
    • member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations;
    • China;
    • the European Union;
    • India; and
    • the Philippines (during the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting);
    • supporting Canadian companies and working closely with stakeholders and business associations as they prepare to take advantage of the new opportunities that the Canada-EU trade agreement provides;
    • deepening its trade relationship with the U.S, Canada’s largest trading partner, to improve North American competitiveness while continuing to stand up for Canada’s interests;
    • working to boost Canada’s exports to China and secure market access for Canadian products following successful 2014 market-access wins for Canadian products such as canola, bone-in beef and cherries;
    • deepening economic ties with Japan, both bilaterally and through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations;
    • continuing to advance bilateral and plurilateral negotiations, including those for the TPP, the trade agreement with India and various WTO initiatives;
    • accelerating work on a trade agreement with Ukraine to further enhance economic cooperation, people-to-people ties and opportunities for Canada-Ukraine partnerships; and
    • building on the 2014 ASEAN road show to promote exports and business-to-business linkages with ASEAN countries; this effort will include close collaboration with the Canada-ASEAN Business Council.

Quick Facts

  • One in five Canadian jobs is dependent on exports, representing 60 percent of our economy.
  • Since 2006, the 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.


“2014 has been the most successful year for trade in Canadian history. Through Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan, the Harper government has opened markets and created new opportunities for hard-working Canadians. We are committed to continuing our support for Canadian businesses in 2015 and providing them with new tools and services to help them reach their full export potential.

“New initiatives such as Go Global workshops will ensure that all Canadian businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, can seize the opportunities Canada’s trade agreements create.

“In 2015, our government will stay focused on the real priorities of Canadians: new jobs and prosperity.”

– Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

Associated Links


Max Moncaster
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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