Recognizing the importance of trade to the Canadian economy, successive governments have negotiated free trade agreements that allow businesses to open new markets around the world. Simply put, trade agreements create a level playing field for companies that can compete with international markets. They open markets for Canadian businesses of all sizes by removing trade barriers such as tariffs, quotas or non-tariff barriers. They create more predictable, fairer and more transparent conditions for companies operating abroad. McCall adds that there is “a really missed opportunity not to address it,” and notes that Canada is not alone in this issue. It has a number of important partners, including “voices of mutual support” within the EU, which has addressed the issue. Canada, Chile and New Zealand have also created an inclusive trade action group that has made a joint statement to promote progressive and inclusive trade. This article by Business Council of Canada Vice-President Brian Kingston opens our four-part series on the importance of free trade agreements (FAs) to the Canadian economy. Learn more about the benefits to employment and productivity in manufacturing that offer free trade agreements. Canada`s trade agreement with the United States increased the productivity of Canadian manufacturing by 13.8% between 1988 and 1996. Republicans generally see a positive view of a possible increase in tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. About six out of ten (58%) say they are good for the country, while only 26% of them say that such rate increases would be bad for the country.
Democratic opinion is the opposite: only 22% of Democrats think that raising tariffs on steel and aluminum would be a good thing for the United States, while 63% of them say they would be bad for the country. Today, 14 free trade agreements give Canadian businesses preferential access to 49 foreign markets, 63 per cent of global GDP and 1.5 billion consumers. Canadian exports have moved from fur, fish and wood to advanced technologies and complex professional services, which are covered by important non-tariff elements of such agreements. And a dedicated team from the CHT is stepping up its efforts to help Canadian businesses take advantage of free trade agreements and other programs and services. Since the end of the Second World War, trade has been the most important way for countries around the world to grow and prosper. With the rise of trade, incomes have increased and workers have benefited from new opportunities. To ensure that Canadian businesses are well positioned to succeed in this growing region, Global Affairs Canada has begun exploratory discussions for a possible Canada-ASEAN free trade agreement and recently concluded exploratory discussions with China, our second largest trading partner. Negotiations are ongoing with India and Japan. Georgina Wainwright-Kemdirim, Special Adviser for Trade and Gender in Industry, said Canada`s trade partners` response to the agreements has been “very positive.” While some question whether trade agreements are the place to address social issues, Canada has suggested that this approach is also economically sound. “Studies show the value and results of women`s increasing participation in trade,” she says.
“There are benefits for everyone.” While Canada`s trade relationship with the United States has been overwhelmingly positive, we cannot afford to be complacent. The Bank of Canada estimates that our exports would be $60 billion higher if Canada had the same level of engagement in emerging countries as in the United States.