Statement from the Honourable Bardish Chagger on the conclusion of the third round of NAFTA modernization in Ottawa


Ottawa, September 27, 2017—The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, issued the following statement after today’s conclusion of the third round of negotiations on the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

“I commend the negotiating teams from Canada, the United States and Mexico on their progress during the third round of negotiations on NAFTA modernization.

“The provisional agreement reached on the SME chapter is an important early demonstration of this progress. The chapter recognizes the integral role small and medium-sized enterprises, including micro-businesses, play in driving growth and creating good, well-paying middle-class jobs in all three countries.

“This new chapter will enhance cooperation on SME issues and ensure that SMEs are able to fully capitalize on the many commercial opportunities created by a modernized NAFTA. This is about helping small business owners access new markets and increase export opportunities. This would be achieved, notably, through a website designed to help SMEs navigate the agreement, as well as a trilateral SME dialogue bringing together SMEs, non-governmental organizations, academic experts and other stakeholders.

“We are committed to hearing directly from Canadians about their priorities. The new SME chapter reflects what we heard from small business stakeholders during our ongoing consultations. I am proud that our negotiating team, led by the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is advancing the interests of Canadian small businesses at the negotiating table.

“This chapter is only one piece of the puzzle. As we work with our partners to finalize the broader agreement, the government will continue to represent the interests of Canadian small businesses, especially for those chapters that affect them directly.”

Stakeholder quotes

“On behalf of Canada’s Small Business Matters Coalition, representing close to 200,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Canada, we welcome the announcement today that a chapter devoted to the interests of SMEs is being added to NAFTA. We applaud ministers Chagger and Freeland for this breakthrough in having the unique challenges faced by SMEs recognized formally in this agreement.”
– Gary Sands, Chair, Small Business Matters Coalition

“Helping SMEs take advantage of free trade agreements is critical because most do not. The measures announced today send a strong signal to Canada’s nearly 90,000 manufacturing SMEs, which employ over 1.36 million Canadians, that all three governments recognize the importance of the contributions they can make to strengthening the manufacturing sector.”
– Dennis A. Darby, President and CEO, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

"Startup Canada commends Minister Chagger and Minister Freeland for championing the interests of start-ups and small businesses in the recent NAFTA negotiations. The SME chapter announced today will support Canadian entrepreneurs to excel in the global market and is a step forward in creating the favourable environment needed for the growth and scalability of Canadian businesses."
– Victoria Lennox, CEO,  Startup Canada

Follow Minister Chagger on social media.
Twitter: @MinofSBT
Instagram: minofsbt

For further information, please contact:

Jonathan Dignan
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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