CALGARY, ALBERTA and EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Oct. 25, 2013) - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, and the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, today showcased the many benefits that will be generated for workers and businesses across Alberta's key sectors thanks to 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 José Manuel Barroso last week. Minister Kenney held an event at Harmony Beef, a meat plant in Calgary, while Minister Ambrose attended a round table with key business and industry leaders at SandyView Farms and toured Lewis Farms in Edmonton.
"This historic agreement is Canada's most ambitious ever and is a big win for Alberta's farmers, workers and families," said Minister Kenney. "Producers, processors, manufacturers and all workers and their loved ones who rely on key sectors of Alberta's economy for their livelihoods, including those in the agricultural, metals and minerals and manufacturing sectors, stand to benefit from the preferential access this agreement provides to the largest and most lucrative market in the world."
Canadian agricultural exports to the EU face high tariffs averaging 13.9 percent. When the Canada-European Union trade agreement is fully implemented, over 95 percent of agricultural tariffs will be eliminated. In addition, the agreement will provide new market access opportunities for key agricultural exports such as beef, pork and grains such as wheat. Harmony Beef is set to reopen next spring in part to take advantage of the new opportunities being created by the Canada-European Union trade agreement.
"Alberta produces an abundant supply of world-class agricultural commodities, with crop and livestock production taking place on more than 51 million acres," said Minister Ambrose. "Eliminating tariffs on these products will create the conditions to increase sales, which will directly benefit hard-working Albertans through new jobs, new opportunities and higher wages."
As the world's largest importer of agricultural goods, importing over $130-billion worth of goods in 2012, the EU presents new and expanded export opportunities for Alberta producers. Between 2010 and 2012, annual average exports were worth $282.5 million, led by $78.9-million worth of common wheat and $48.6-million worth of durum wheat.
Overall, the province's agricultural and agri-food sector contributed more than $6.5 billion to the province's economy in 2012 and employed nearly 76,000 Albertans.
"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 the world's largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of $17 trillion.
For more information on how the Canada-EU trade agreement will benefit Alberta, please visit Benefits for Alberta.
For more information on the vast benefits of this agreement to every region of Canada, please visit actionplan.gc.ca/CETA.
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