Canada plays leadership role on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment at WTO

News Release

December 12, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario

Canada is championing a more progressive approach in all of our trade agreements, including at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is a top priority of the Government of Canada and we believe there is growing recognition that the benefits of trade have not been equally shared.

In order to effectively diversify into new markets, everyone must be included and everyone must be given a fair chance to succeed.  The gap in women’s participation in trade and the economy is an untapped resource that cannot be denied. Dismissing entire parts of the population is not an option.

The Canadian people are, after all, what gives the Canadian economy its might.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, was pleased to announce that a majority of members endorsed the Joint Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment. Canada has been a key leader in the drafting and the promotion of this initiative. The Declaration adapts Canada’s free trade agreement gender chapter to a multilateral context by establishing commitments for action and collaboration within the WTO.

Canada’s position is that trade should be a march to the top not a race to the bottom. This joint declaration demonstrates a will to improve the terms of trade and ensure the rules-based system on which we depend, works for everyone.


“I am very proud of the leadership role Canada is playing in advancing this Joint Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment. In today’s competitive global economy, leveraging the best and brightest entrepreneurs – both women and men – is a win-win situation for all.  It is not only the right thing to do, it just makes economic sense.”

- François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade

Quick Facts

  • A 2015 study by McKinsey Global Institute found that advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to the global gross domestic product by 2025.

  • A 2017 study, also by the McKinsey Global Institute, found that by closing its gender gap Canada could add $150 billion to annual GDP growth by 2026.

  • Eliminating barriers that discriminate against women working in some sectors could increase labour productivity by as much as 25%.

Associated Links


Pierre-Olivier Herbert
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Trade

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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