OTTAWA—Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird underlined how workers and businesses in key economic sectors throughout Ontario will greatly benefit from the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. An agreement-in-principle for this historic deal was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso last week. Baird held an event at Wesley Clover, an Ottawa-based investor in technology firms.
“This historic agreement is Canada’s most ambitious ever and is a big win for Ontario workers and families,” said Baird. “Workers and families who rely on key sectors of Ontario’s economy for their livelihoods, including those in the manufacturing and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors as well as professional services industries, stand to benefit from the preferential access this agreement provides to the largest and most lucrative market in the world.”
Ontario’s ICT exports face tariffs as high as 14 percent on some products. When the Canada-EU trade agreement comes into force, all EU tariff lines on ICT goods will be duty-free, making these goods more competitive and creating the conditions needed for increased sales. In addition, the Canada-EU trade agreement will provide new market access opportunities in the EU government procurement market in areas such as consulting services, design, programming and maintenance services.
Home to industry giants and small start-ups, Ontario’s ICT industry is recognized globally for its expertise. “The EU market in such areas as cyber-security, gaming and smartphone applications offers significant growth potential for service providers and exporters alike, and Ontario has much to offer in these sectors,” added Baird. “Eliminating barriers to export our expertise in developing tailored products will create the conditions for increased sales, which will directly benefit hard-working Ontarians through new jobs, new opportunities and higher wages.”
The EU presents new and expanded export opportunities for Ontario’s ICT sector. Between 2010 and 2012, exports to the EU were worth an annual average of $1.2 billion. Overall, the sector contributed more than $4.9 billion to Ontario’s GDP in 2012 and employed around 50,200 Ontarians.
“Our government is focused on what matters to all Canadians: creating new jobs and new opportunities,” said the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade. “The Canada-EU trade agreement will generate substantial gains across all key economic sectors, covering every region of Canada. In fact, Canada will be one of the only developed countries to have preferential access to the world’s two largest markets: the European Union and the United States. The competitive edge and combined access to these markets-and their more than 800 million affluent consumers-will make Canada the envy of trading nations worldwide. It will also make Canada an even more attractive destination for investors and manufacturers, and this in turn will create thousands of new jobs and new opportunities for Canadians.”
The EU is already Ontario’s second-largest export destination and trading partner. It is also the world’s largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of $17 trillion.