Canada endorses Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement

News release

December 10, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

As part of its inclusive approach to trade, Canada is developing and implementing policies to ensure that Indigenous peoples in Canada have access to all the benefits and opportunities that flow from international trade and investment.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, announced Canada’s endorsement of the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA).

IPETCA was developed in close cooperation with Indigenous peoples in Canada through Global Affairs Canada’s Indigenous Working Group on Trade Policy and is open for other economies to join. IPETCA acknowledges the importance of enhancing the ability of Indigenous peoples and Indigenous businesses to benefit from the opportunities created by international trade and investment.

As a cooperation-based and voluntary instrument, IPETCA establishes a framework for facilitating cooperation between participating economies in order to identify and remove barriers to Indigenous peoples’ economic empowerment and participation in trade. It comprises provisions on responsible business conduct, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.

The arrangement also includes a provision whereby participating economies acknowledge that it is inappropriate to weaken or reduce protections for Indigenous peoples in order to attract trade or investment. Indigenous representatives from each participating economy will be involved in the implementation and operation of IPETCA alongside government officials.

In the spirit of reconciliation and strengthening partnerships with Indigenous peoples in Canada, Minister Ng expects to hold a ceremony with Indigenous peoples in early 2022 to mark this historic arrangement.


“IPETCA is a major step forward in our efforts to promote trade and investment opportunities for Indigenous peoples in global markets. It is a groundbreaking and innovative trade arrangement that will help foster a more inclusive economy and forge global collaborations that benefit Indigenous communities from coast to coast to coast and across borders.”

- Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

“Helping enable Indigenous communities and businesses to take advantage of the opportunities that come from international trade, investments, and supply chains is a component of supporting a strong and expanding Indigenous economy. With the support of national Indigenous organizations, Canada’s endorsement of IPETCA will encourage and facilitate international trade and experience-sharing with, between, and among Indigenous peoples throughout the Asia Pacific.”

- Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services

“IPECTA is a rights-based inclusive trade arrangement that is precedent-setting and supportive of Indigenous peoples’ worldviews of advancing Indigenous economic development while providing environmental protection for lands, waters and natural resources. IPECTA facilitates Indigenous international trade while upholding important international environmental agreements, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals."

- Wayne D. Garnons-Williams, member of the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Committee

Quick facts

  • According to a report from Export Development Canada in 2020, there are more than 50,000 Indigenous-owned business in Canada, contributing an estimated $30 billion to the national economy each year.

  • IPETCA is supported in Canada by the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Committee, which consists of representatives of the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Métis National Council, the National Aboriginal Forestry Association, the International Intertribal Trade and Investment Organization, and the National Indigenous Economic Development Board.

  • IPETCA reaffirms a number of important existing Indigenous peoples-specific international instruments, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which became law in Canada in June 2021. It also reaffirms the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

  • IPETCA negotiations were inspired by the Inclusive Trade Action Group, which comprises Canada, Chile and New Zealand; the IPETCA negotiations followed the signing of the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement in August 2020.

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Alice Hansen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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