OTTAWA – Alberta Elected Senator Doug Black congratulates Prime Minister Harper on his recent advancements on free trade agreements with South Korea and the European Union and encourages quick implementation of both agreements.
“These agreements represent a watershed in free trade for Canada and Alberta,” said Senator Black. “They are critically important for Alberta because they will significantly expand trade for our resources, including agricultural commodities.”
Last Monday (Sept 29), Canada and South Korea signed a Free Trade Agreement, which is expected to grow the Canadian economy by $1.7 billion. Prime Minister Harper also met on Friday with the European Council in Ottawa to hold a formal signing ceremony for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). CETA is expected to begin in 2016 and is anticipated to increase two-way trade between Canada and the EU by $36.8 billion.
Senator Black now encourages all governments to move quickly to implement the agreements.
“It is my hope that these agreements move forward as quickly as possible. Their benefits to Alberta’s agriculture industry and Canada’s economy as a whole cannot be overlooked, and the sooner the government can put these agreements to work for Albertans, the sooner Canada ill become a real competitor in international trade.”
As Alberta’s fifth largest export destination and a top importer of beef, South Korea receives an annual average of $205 million in Alberta agriculture exports, and with the CKFTA, that number will increase significantly. The agreement is expected to boost Canadian exports to South Korea by 32 per cent.
The agricultural industry is also Alberta’s second-largest source of exports to the EU, with an average annual export value of $282 million. CETA will remove high tariffs, creating opportunities for increased agricultural sales. For instance, CETA will reserve 64,950 duty-free tonnes for Canadian beef, while U.S. beef will still see a 20 per cent tariff.
Canada has already concluded free trade agreements with 10 different countries under Prime Minister Harper.