Montreal—Free and open trade over protectionism is the best way to secure global recovery and create jobs, Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast told a Montreal economic conference.
In a speech to the International Economic Forum of the Americas, Fast said Canada must improve its access to fast growing markets around the world, particularly in Latin America and Asia Pacific.
The government also hopes to conclude the world’s largest free-trade agreement with the European Union by the end of 2012.
Fast said Canadian workers and businesses have gained preferred access and a real competitive advantage in markets around the world.
Since 2006, Canada has concluded free trade agreements with nine countries—Colombia, Jordan, Panama, Peru, the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and Honduras.
It is also deepening trade ties with the world’s fastest growing markets, including Brazil, China and India.
Canada also became the first tariff-free manufacturing zone in the G20 with the elimination of over 1,800 tariffs on imported machinery, equipment and manufacturing inputs.