In the Speech from the Throne to open the Second Session of the
41st Parliament of Canada, delivered on October 16, 2013 by
Governor General David Johnston, the Government of Canada
reconfirms its commitment to advancing its international trade
policy objectives and gave some direction as to Canada's
emerging trade policy for the current session of Parliament.
CANADA'S GLOBAL COMMERCE STRATEGY
Launched in 2007, Canada's Global Commerce Strategy (CCS)
saw the federal government commit to C$50-million a year
Securing favourable terms of access to the markets, investment
and innovation opportunities where Canadian commercial interests
Attracting global investment and innovation to Canada and
facilitating Canadian commercial engagement abroad
Expanding Canada's international commercial network.
Thirteen priority markets were also identified under the CCS as
those where Canadian opportunities and interests have the greatest
potential for growth. The markets so identified ranged across the
Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East.
FREE TRADE AND INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS
Pursuant to the CCS, Canada has been aggressively pursuing free
trade and international investment agreements with strategic
countries. The Canada – Panama Free Trade Agreement came into
force in April 2013, the Canada – European Union
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is rumored to be
finalized within days, and the Canada – India Free Trade
Agreement is in its eighth round of negotiations.
Other recent developments of note include the conclusion of
negotiations on foreign investment promotion and protection
agreements with Serbia and Côte d'Ivoire, and
Canada's involvement in the 19th round of negotiations of the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
COMMITMENT TO TRADE IN THRONE SPEECH
The Governor General confirmed in his speech that negotiations
with respect to CETA, which was said to have the potential to
create 80,000 new jobs for Canadians, would soon be completed. The
Governor General also pointed to Canada's negotiations with the
TPP, Japan, Korea and India as proof of the government's
commitment to expanding trade in emerging markets.
Continued implementation of the Beyond the Border and Regulatory
Cooperation Action Plans, according to which Canada and the U.S.
agreed to perimeter security and economic competitiveness and
regulatory co-operation, was also singled out by the Governor
General as one of the government's trade priorities.
Finally, the Governor General indicated that the government
would be launching a comprehensive new plan to assist Canadian
businesses expand abroad, although no further details about that
program are available at this time.
POSSIBLE CONCLUSION OF CANADA – EU COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC
AND TRADE AGREEMENT
While no specifics were provided in the Speech from the Throne,
it appears that Canada and the EU may have concluded their
long-awaited CETA after press reports stating that agreement has
been reached on the level of additional market access for EU
Specifically, it has been reported that Canada will increase the
quantity of imported cheese it will permit into Canada free of
punitive tariffs to 37,000 tonnes, and that the EU's share more
than doubles from 13,000 to 30,000 tonnes.
The Throne Speech confirms that the government continues to view
the promotion of international trade as a high priority. The
conclusion of the CETA will allow Canada to focus on other
bilateral agreements, such as with India and Japan, and also on the
TPP negotiations. In such a period of intense activity, companies
that rely on imports and/or exports in pursuing or growing their
business should monitor developments carefully and insert
themselves into the process for best results, or retain the
services of an experienced trade lawyer or consultant for guidance
and to ensure all benefits of such trade agreements are being
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