Minister Champagne welcomes agreement to launch trade negotiations with Mercosur
March 9, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada
Canada is committed to securing new progressive trade agreements in fast-growing markets, such as the Mercosur trade bloc—Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay—to deliver more benefits for hard-working Canadians. Trade diversification will continue to drive economic growth, help businesses succeed abroad and create new middle-class jobs from coast to coast to coast.
Today, in Asunción, Paraguay, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, welcomed the agreement to launch negotiations toward a comprehensive Canada-Mercosur free trade agreement (FTA).
Building on the announcement of exploratory talks in February 2018, Minister Champagne, along with Mercosur trade bloc ministers Jorge Marcelo Faurie, Argentina’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship; Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; Marcos Jorge de Lima, Brazil’s Minister of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services; Eladio Loizaga, Paraguay’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Rodolfo Nin Novoa, Uruguay’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, agreed to launch formal negotiations. The objective of a new FTA is to increase economic opportunities for the benefit of all member countries.
A comprehensive, ambitious and progressive FTA with Mercosur would provide improved market access for world-class Canadian goods and create more opportunities for established and first-time exporters to tap a rapidly growing market. Canadian exporters in sectors such as energy, the extractive industries, infrastructure, environment, telecommunications, distribution and logistics, transportation and tourism could benefit from preferential access to a fast-growing market of over 260 million consumers. A successful FTA also has the potential to provide Canadian consumers and businesses with enhanced access to imports of goods and services from Mercosur countries.
The Government of Canada is committed to advancing a progressive trade agenda, in recognition that trade policies need to respond and contribute meaningfully to overall economic, social and environmental policy priorities. In addition to an environmental assessment, Canada is for the first time committing to expanding, in the context of Mercosur negotiations, the impact assessment process to include, for example, labour and gender.
The government is committed to ensuring that a Canada-Mercosur trade agreement will include provisions aimed at sharing the benefits of trade among all, including women, youth, Indigenous people, small and medium-sized enterprises and the middle class.
As part of its commitment to transparency, the government has spent the past year listening to a broad range of Canadians, including representatives of industry and business organizations, Indigenous groups, labour unions, civil society groups, environmental groups and Crown corporations, as they share their views on strengthening trade relations with Mercosur countries.
The first round of FTA negotiations will take place in Ottawa from March 20 to 23, 2018.
“With a combined population of 260 million and a GDP of over $3 trillion, the Mercosur member countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay offer Canada an opportunity to deliver on its ambitious and diversified trade agenda with like-minded and fast-growing markets.”
- François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade
In 2017, Canada and Mercosur exchanged $8.9 billion in trade.
With a combined population of 260 million and a GDP of over $3 trillion, Mercosur is the world’s fourth-largest trading bloc.
The South American trade bloc of Mercosur is a customs union established by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay in 1991.
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