Provisional application of CETA - The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade


September 21, 2017 – Port of Montréal, PQ

Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the Government of Canada’s official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with its communications policy.

It’s a great pleasure to be here in the Port of Montreal because, well, as you can see, this is where trade literally happens.

What can be lost in the hustle and bustle of this place is that this is the point of departure for a middle class Canadians’ first exports; the very moment when she realizes her hopes and ambitions to go global.

It is fitting then that we stand here today surrounded by innovative Canadians and business owners of all sizes to usher in a new era of trade, to proudly celebrate a new chapter between the European Union and Canada and, most importantly, to celebrate CETA, the gold-standard in progressive trade and an ambitious deal that puts people, particularly the middle class, front and centre.

This is a great day for Montréalers, Quebekers and all Canadians.

We have worked hard in anticipation of this day for ten years.

We may not have realized it then but this is the right deal at the right time.

As of today, 98 percent of tariff lines between Canada and the EU will be duty free.  More than 9000 tariff lines are duty-free.

As of today, Canadians have access to a market of more than 500 million consumers and a procurement market worth a staggering $3.3 trillion.

Consumers will be getting more choice and lower prices and that’s good for access, good for competition and great news for Canadians looking to expand, succeed and win in the world’s most lucrative market.

Canadians now have preferential market access, through 12 trade agreements to 44 countries with almost 1.2 billion consumers and a combined GDP of over US$41.2 trillion. This represents over one-half of the world’s output of goods and services.

Canada is now literally at the centre of a network of free trade agreements connecting the Americas, Asia and Europe.

That is important because in a world marked by instability and uncertainty, Canada (and the EU) can be proud of the fact that we are beacons of stability, predictability, the rule of law.

We can be proud of our diverse societies where fairness is prioritized and where the future prosperity of the middle class matters most.  

The timing of CETA is another big advantage for Canada.

Canadians will be first in line to establish customer relationships, networks and joint projects in the EU.

When you unwind the red tape tangling up imports and exports, business owners can expand their enterprises.

We reached this milestone because while we know that trade matters, we needed to rethink how we approached trade agreements.

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set out for us on Day One, we need to make ‘trade real for people’.

So together with our European Union counterparts, we reoriented the approach to trade so that it is progressive.  We put the middle class and those working hard to join it first.

Because if we are not working hard to make trade real for people and giving Canadians a fair shot to ensure their future prosperity than we are standing still and letting others set the agenda for us.

As Canada’s chief marketing officer, I know Canadians can compete and win in overseas markets.

During my official travels, I’ve had the opportunity to see many great Canadian businesses diversify into and succeed in new markets around the world.

For Hygie Canada CETA represents a golden opportunity to be on an equal footing with our European Union competitors and to be able to access public markets without being disadvantaged by tariffs.

Little Miss Chief’s Indigenous owned company from Westbank British Colombia’s already exports wine-marinated wild Pacific salmon to the Netherlands, Poland and Spain … The EU imported $36 million of fish and seafood in 2016 so there is the potential to make even more of a splash.

And, a Metis man, Richard Martin, who had a vision of innovative children’s play equipment that could truly challenge children around the world to overcome obstacles, reach new heights and proudly realize their own capabilities.

With CETA, the current EU tariffs on Dynamo Playground’s products drop to zero and open up the procurement markets in all levels of government across the EU for Dynamo to sell more, more, more.

Purkinje Inc. is a Montreal-based company specialized in offering IT solutions in the field of healthcare to facilitate the work of health professionals, serving over 7000 health professionals across Canada and abroad. The company currently operates in China and India, and is interested in the European Union. The company’s Co-President, Mary-Anne Carignan, sees in CETA an opportunity for Purkinje to diversify and expand, drawing on the company’s diversity and CETA’s labour mobility commitments.

CETA shows us that no business is too small to succeed and that the ambitions of middle class Canadians can be at the forefront of our agenda.

And with our government’s investments in skills training, youth and innovation, more Canadians are well-positioned to grow and to create more middle-class jobs.

Trade Matters.  Trade is vital to our economic success in the 21st century: to job creation, to a strong middle class, and to the prosperity of those working hard to join it.

When we offer SMEs more opportunities to export and hard-working Canadians the skills and support they need to take advantage of new markets, to access larger buyers and supply chains, we all benefit.

This is where you come in. The Canadian businesses and workers gathered here, the future entrepreneurs and students brimming with ideas around the country; all of you bring these agreements to life.

Every small business owner knows the distance from their first spark of an idea to putting it into practice is a long and challenging road.

While sometimes it feels risky to pursue overseas markets where language, culture, practices and market preferences may be different, smart business owners understand that this type of diversification is actually an important risk-management tool when weather or political uncertainty disrupt primary export markets.

I encourage all Canadians to use the tools we have like our trade commissioners on the ground; they are located in 26 embassies and consulates in the EU, and their job is to connect all Canadians to the opportunities that CETA has created.

Ladies and gentlemen, we set a high level of ambition for progressive trade and for putting the interests of our middle class front and centre. CETA has delivered.

CETA demonstrates that we can improve the rules that govern trade. 

Just as Canada was a principal architect of the rules that governed the post-WWII global economic order, we are rewriting those rules for the 21st century economy today. 

We are rewriting them so that everyone benefits.

CETA demonstrates that we can set the terms for a more fair and progressive global trade agenda where the middle class can see themselves competing and winning on the global stage. 

Canada can and will chart the course of our 21st century prosperity. 

As we stand here at this gateway to the world let’s prove that.  Let’s be ambitious. Trade matters.  Now is our time.

Thank you.  Merci.

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