Notes for an address to the Kemptville Economic Development Summit
And welcome everyone.
It’s hard to believe that another year has passed and we are looking at the end of 2013.
It has been a busy year throughout Leeds-Grenville and I have been fortunate to have been able to make a number of significant announcements on the economic development front.
But this morning, I want to talk about something significant for Canada, Ontario and Leeds-Grenville.
As you know, one of the keys to our government’s economic success is our aggressive trade agenda.
So this morning I want to talk briefly about our milestone announcement of the conclusion of free trade negotiations between Canada and the European Union.
When it comes to Canada’s international trade, this is easily the most significant deal since NAFTA.
The EU is the largest economy in the world — with its 27 member states, 500 million consumers and annual economic activity of $17 trillion.
It is also the world’s largest importing market for goods; in fact, the EU’s annual imports are worth more than Canada’s total gross domestic product!
It has been projected that this deal will result in a 20-percent boost in bilateral trade and a $12-billion increase in Canada’s GDP. That translates to the economic equivalent of an increase of $1,000 to the average Canadian family’s income or 80,000 new Canadian jobs.
That’s like adding the total number of jobs currently in Kingston to the Canadian economy.
Here in Ontario, our workers stand to benefit significantly from preferred access to the EU market.
The EU is our second-largest export destination and trading partner. CETA will eliminate tariffs on Ontario’s key exports like advanced manufacturing, metal and minerals, chemicals and plastics, as well as our information and communications technologies.
Exporters in these sectors will also benefit from other CETA provisions that will improve conditions for trade – provisions, for example, that ease regulatory barriers, reinforce intellectual property rights, and ensure more transparent rules for market access.
Additionally, this agreement opens up new markets for Ontario’s world-class services.
The services sector is by far the largest sector of this province’s economy, accounting for almost 77 percent of our overall economy in 2011, or $436 billion, and employing some 5.4 million Ontarians in 2012.
CETA offers our service providers better, more predictable, and secure access to the EU market. This allows our companies to compete on a level playing field with their competitors in the EU – not to mention it gives them an advantage over their competitors from other countries.
Similarly, in the area of investment, CETA provides Canadian and EU investors with greater certainty, transparency and protection for their investments.
Greater Ontario investment in the EU will improve access to European markets, technology and expertise and enhance the competitiveness of Canadian firms.
And greater EU investment in this province will stimulate economic growth and job creation here at home, provide new technologies and increase competition in the marketplace, ultimately benefitting Ontario’s consumers and workers alike.
So as you can see, our province has a lot to gain from this historic agreement.
Ladies and gentlemen, in this still fragile global economic climate, our government continues to be focused on helping create more jobs and prosperity with pro-trade measures.
We know from experience that trade is one of the most effective drivers of economic growth.
In fact 60 percent of our annual GDP relies on trade, and one out of every five Canadian jobs is related to exports.
That’s why we have been rolling out the most ambitious trade expansion plan in our nation’s history.
By actively pursuing new trade and investment opportunities like this one with the EU, we are providing Canadian workers and businesses with preferred access to the largest, most dynamic and fastest growing economies and regions of the world.
The conclusion of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement also sends a strong signal to the world against protectionism.
It builds upon the formidable legacy of the Canada-US FTA and NAFTA.
And I want to emphasize this: this agreement is just the foundation stone upon which we’re going to build many other trade relationships.
The conclusion of this agreement will help us achieve ambitious agreements with the members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in our trade negotiations with India and Japan and maybe one day China.
We know that our companies can compete and can win in global markets.
And when our companies succeed abroad, jobs and growth are created here at home.
Our government will continue to work hard on their behalf to put the best of Canada squarely in the global spotlight.
Thank you all very much.