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Minister Fast Highlights Ways to Strengthen Canada-U.S. Advantage

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Mar 13, 2012

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today wrapped up his visit to the United States, where he stressed the value in leveraging the Canada-United States competitive advantage in new trade negotiations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“Canada and the United States have the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world,” said Minister Fast. “As neighbours and friends, we can and should build the TPP together. As like-minded allies, we can ensure that high standards are included in the TPP on such issues as investment, regulatory cooperation, state-owned enterprises and labour provisions.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free-trade agreement under negotiation by, at present, nine countries, including the United States. Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Canada’s formal interest in joining the TPP negotiations, in November 2011, Minister Fast has held meetings with his counterparts from all nine TPP countries (Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam).

In Washington, D.C., Minister Fast addressed an investor conference to promote Canada as an investment destination of choice, highlighting the country’s strong economic fundamentals, low taxes and business-friendly policies. He also held meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Secretary of Commerce John Bryson, and other key U.S. officials and policy-makers. In New York City, he met with business and political leaders to underscore how free trade has created jobs and prosperity on both sides of the border.

“U.S. jobs and prosperity are best served by having Canada join the TPP negotiations at the earliest opportunity,” said Minister Fast. “Canada’s participation in the TPP is critical to preserving the jobs and prosperity that exist for U.S. workers, businesses and families thanks to our integrated economies and supply chains.”

Minister Fast said he was pleased that, in the U.S. Federal Register process concluded in January 2012, the response of U.S. stakeholders to Canada’s inclusion in the negotiations was overwhelmingly supportive.

“More than 91 percent of the submissions supported Canada’s membership in the TPP,” said the Minister. “This is a clear recognition by U.S. stakeholders that, as each other’s largest trading partner, and with our integrated economies that support millions of jobs on both sides of our shared border, Canada’s inclusion in the TPP is critical to ensuring the future prosperity of both our countries.”

Minister Fast also described other ways Canada and the United States are currently working together to grow the two countries’ highly integrated economies. In December 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama announced the Action Plan on Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness and the Action Plan on Regulatory Cooperation, which are designed to speed up trade and travel, improve security in North America and align regulatory approaches.

These plans—the most significant step forward in Canada-United States cooperation since the North American Free Trade Agreement—will create jobs and growth in both countries.

Over 10 million jobs in both countries depend on Canada-United States trade—8 million in the U.S. and 2.4 million in Canada. Canada and the United States are each other’s largest export market. In fact, Canada is the number one foreign market for goods for 35 of the 50 U.S. states.

For more information, please visit Minister Fast Travels to Washington, D.C., and New York City.

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