Last week I had the honour of voting in favour of two critical economic bills that will create more jobs for Albertans and grow the Canadian economy: Bill C-30, Implementing the Canada-European free trade agreement and Bill C-31, Implementing the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. Both bills will create new economic opportunities for Albertans and Canadians, and both will help to promote economic growth. These bills passed at 3rd reading and will now move on to the Senate where I hope they will pass quickly and be proclaimed into law.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, better known as CETA, makes approximately 98 percent of the EU’s tariff lines on Canadian goods duty-free. An additional one percent of tariffs will be eliminated over a seven-year phase out period. This allows Canadian goods to reach a market of 500 million people without additional taxes or penalties on our products leading to a 20% increase in trade, which boosts the Canadian economy to the tune of $12 billion per year.
CETA will be of particular benefit to Alberta’s agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and mineral industries whose presence to European market will only grow, and will offer Alberta businesses new economic opportunities that will have a real and positive effect on our economy. This is the precisely the kind of agreement Alberta needs during these difficult economic times and I am proud to see our government implement its provisions into law.
The Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement will not only create great economic opportunities for both countries but also strengthens our connection with one of Canada closest allies. At a time when Ukraine needs the support of its allies most, we are working to grow both of our economies together through the elimination of tariffs and other barriers to trade. Like CETA, this will provide important export opportunities for businesses – especially businesses in markets such as industrial products, agriculture and agri-food, and seafood products.
The deep history of the Ukrainian community in Edmonton makes this agreement a natural fit for entrepreneurs in our city. I look forward to seeing the opportunities for growth and collaboration that arise as this agreement comes into force.
Trade is necessary for Alberta’s future success. Fully 83% of Alberta companies do not do business outside of our province, and pursuing opportunities to engage internationally will embolden our economy. I urge any entrepreneurs interested in doing business in the European Union, Ukraine or elsewhere to reach out to Canada’s Trade Commissioners office for assistance.
This was a very good week for Canada, and our government will continue to demonstrate leadership by creating conditions for growth and success that will serve Canadians of all stripes.