Canada breaks new ground as it signs modernized free trade agreement with Chile focusing on trade and gender

News Release

June 5, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Canada took another step toward gender equality today as the Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, announced the addition of a chapter on trade and gender to modernize the 20-year-old Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement—the first of its kind for any G20 country.

The announcement preceded a round table on diversity and inclusion in the private and public sectors in Chile and Canada hosted by Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet on the occasion of her state visit to Canada, which Minister Champagne attended.

The trade and gender chapter acknowledges the importance of applying gender perspective to economic and trade issues to ensure that economic growth benefits everyone, confirms the intention of both parties to enforce their respective international agreements on gender from a rights perspective and provides a framework for Canada and Chile to cooperate on issues related to trade and gender, including women’s entrepreneurship and the development of gender-focused indicators.

The trade and gender chapter also commits both sides to the creation of a trade and gender committee that will oversee cooperation and share experiences in designing programs to encourage women’s participation in national and international economies. This development is tangible evidence of the strong, progressive and feminist approach the Government of Canada brings to all aspects of its foreign policy.

Canada and Chile have included other progressive amendments to the investment chapter of the free trade agreement (FTA). For instance, the two parties have directly and explicitly reaffirmed their commitment to globally endorsed corporate social responsibility standards, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which provide guidelines to enterprises with respect to the environment, community relations, labour, human rights and anti-corruption efforts. The two parties have also increased transparency obligations and provided added provisions regarding the reaffirmation of their right to regulate in the public interest.

Canada is committed to pursuing free, open and progressive trade with its partners around the world. Progressive trade means working to ensure that all segments of society, both in Canada and abroad, can take advantage of the economic opportunities flowing from trade and investment. The modernized Canada-Chile FTA, which has seen merchandise trade more than triple in the past 20 years to $2.4 billion, with the addition of a trade and gender chapter, is a concrete demonstration of that and of the Government of Canada’s firm commitment to making its progressive trade agenda real for people.


Quotes

“All Canadians and Chileans will undoubtedly welcome the modernization of this agreement, particularly the dedicated chapter on trade and gender, which reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to advancing gender equality and to creating real opportunity for the middle class, especially women and the girls who will be the next generation of entrepreneurs, board members and CEOs. This is how we advance our progressive trade agenda in the world and how we make trade real for Canadian workers and their families.” 

-  François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade

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