Trade Is the New Stimulus, Minister Fast Says in Speech to Influential Border Alliance
May 7, 2012 – The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, delivered a keynote speech today focused squarely on the Harper government’s pro-trade plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity—the broadest economic expansion plan in Canadian history—to more than 100 members of the Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance during its three-day conference in Ottawa.
“Trade is the new stimulus,” said Minister Fast. “We need more trade, more investment and deeper partnerships to help strengthen the financial security of hard-working Canadians and Americans alike. There is no better job creator or economic growth generator than deeper trade. That’s why our government is continuing to take steps to make the Canada-U.S. partnership—the world’s greatest free trade success story—even stronger in the years ahead.”
The Minister pointed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama’s Beyond the Border Action Plan as a good example of the way the Canadian and U.S. governments are working together to make the border more efficient for workers and businesses. The plan will open up the border to people, goods and services from the two countries, while making crossing the border more difficult for criminals and people who pose a threat to security.
Merchandise trade worth more than $1.5 billion crosses the border each day. In fact, the total value of merchandise trade that crosses the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit—a single crossing point—is more than the total value of trade between the United States and the United Kingdom.
“Our government’s top priority remains jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Fast. “One in seven jobs in Canada now depends on trade with U.S. partners, and in the United States, eight million jobs depend on trade with Canada. Thirty-five U.S. states also count Canada as their top trading partner. Simply put, when it comes to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity on both sides of the border, we need each other.”
Minister Fast also pointed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as another way that Canada and the United States can work together, saying that together they can ensure that high standards are included in the TPP on such issues as investment, regulatory cooperation, state-owned enterprises and labour. Minister Fast also said that the TPP promises to further deepen the Canada-U.S. partnership.
The TPP is a free trade agreement currently being negotiated among nine Asia-Pacific economies, including the United States. As a free trade leader on the world stage, Canada is seeking entry into the negotiations. This initiative is also consistent with the Harper government’s active, ongoing and growing presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
“With both Canada and the United States at the negotiating table, we can build the TPP together, leverage Canada-United States competitive advantages and create jobs, growth and prosperity for Canadians and Americans alike,” said Minister Fast. “A deeper partnership between Canada and the United States would also help Americans reach President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015. With U.S. exports to Canada almost three times greater than U.S. exports to all current TPP members combined, even a modest increase in exports to Canada will benefit American workers across the country, as well as the families that rely on cross-border businesses for their livelihoods.”
Since 2006, Canada has concluded free trade agreements with nine countries and is negotiating many more, including with the European Union and India. The Harper government has also eliminated more than 1,800 tariffs, including all tariffs on imported machinery, equipment and manufacturing inputs, making Canada the first tariff-free zone in the G-20 for manufacturers.