Week of November 19, 2018
By Bob Nault MP
KENORA – Trade diversification is all about creating new opportunities for Canadian businesses to expand in markets around the world, grow our economy, and create quality jobs. Exports and imports account for 60% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product. As a trading nation, we need to add not just to our list of customers, but also increase the number of our innovative, hard-working, entrepreneurs who want to expand their businesses and trade with other nations.
Opening up trade will improve the lives of rural Canadians by offering more opportunities for our businesses and entrepreneurs; it improves productivity, opens up new markets leading to increases sales, raises wages, and promotes innovation right within our communities. With fourteen trade agreements signed by fifty-one countries, Canadians are doing business in a world that gives our entrepreneurs the ability to reach over 1.5 billion consumers.
While the United States still remains our largest trading partner and best customer, there has never been a better time for businesses to diversify into new markets. The relationship between Canada, Mexico, and the United States is one based on friendship, shared prosperity, and security. The recently negotiated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)—which builds on some 24 years of trade cooperation under NAFTA—is an important step forward.
The USMCA provides a secure and stable business environment for Canadian workers and businesses, to expand their trade with both Mexico and the U.S. It preserves key elements of our existing trading relationship while making it easier for Northerners to do business in a wide range of sectors. The possibilities are endless.
In September, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, called CETA. This has resulted in an increase of almost 10% in bilateral trade with the EU, less expensive consumer items from Europe, and Canadian businesses have gained improved access to an additional 500 million consumers. CETA has increased Canada-EU ties, job creation, business growth and investment, and in the first year alone, Canada has seen an increase of almost 10% in bilateral trade with the EU –representing an increase of $1.1 billion.
I believe that these types of trade agreements with more to come will result in countless opportunities for Northerners to take their businesses global. It’s well worth noting that Canada is the only G7 country with free trade deals with every other G7 country. Taken together, we now have 14 Free Trade Agreements, covering 51 countries, connecting Canadian businesses to 1.5 billion of the world’s consumers. By continuing to expand free trade across our global community, Canada is signalling to the world that global trade matters, that rules matter and that we will not be drawn into a world of protectionism.
In a world that grows smaller, through advances in technology, transportation, and communication, expanding our customer base to new markets just makes sense.