Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

November 27, 2013 08:59 ET

Harper Government Launches New International Trade Plan

Creating new jobs and opportunities for Canadians through trade is the priority as Canada focuses its efforts on the specific markets and sectors that hold the greatest potential

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 27, 2013) - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today released a new trade plan that reflects the changing global landscape, focuses on core Canadian strengths, aligns Canada's trade, development and foreign policy tools to advance commercial interests around the world, and sets concrete targets to grow the presence of Canada's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets. The comprehensive report, entitled the Global Markets Action Plan: The Blueprint for Creating Jobs and Opportunities for Canadians Through Trade, was announced during a keynote speech Minister Fast delivered to the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa.

"Under the Global Markets Action Plan, our government will concentrate its efforts on markets that hold the greatest promise for Canadian business-and focus on core commercial objectives within those markets," said Minister Fast. "We will do this through vigorous and continual trade promotion, supported by ambitious trade policy. In short, this new plan will play to our strengths and ensure that all of Canada's diplomatic assets are harnessed to support the pursuit of commercial success by Canadian companies and investors. We fully understand that when our businesses succeed abroad, all Canadians benefit from the jobs and opportunities that are created at home."

The plan will target three distinct types of markets:

  • emerging markets with broad Canadian interests;
  • emerging markets with specific opportunities for Canadian businesses; and
  • established markets with broad Canadian interests.

Key elements of the Global Markets Action Plan include:

  • a new trade promotion plan that entrenches the concept of "economic diplomacy" by focusing government resources and services in order to maximize the success of Canada's commercial interests in key foreign markets;
  • ensuring that Canada's trade policy tools are prioritized toward initiatives that will yield the maximum economic benefits to Canadian workers and businesses;
  • sustained efforts to leverage Canada's position as the only G-8 nation to have preferential access to the world's two largest markets-the European Union and the United States-comprising more than 800 million customers, and providing Canada with free trade access to over half of the entire global marketplace; and
  • renewed stakeholder linkages to ensure that government priorities are in sync with the needs of businesses, and that the plan adapts to changes in the global economy.

Five-Year Target to Increase SMEs Exporting to Emerging Markets

The Global Markets Action Plan will also set out how the government will work with Canada's critical SME sector to grow the sector's footprint in emerging markets to meet the following targets:

  • Grow Canada's SME export presence in emerging markets from 29 percent to 50 percent by 2018.
  • This would grow Canada's SME footprint in emerging markets from 11,000 to 21,000 companies.
  • This growth would create over 40,000 net new jobs.

Source: Export Development Canada Economics.

"In a fiercely competitive global economy, Canada cannot be complacent," said Minister Fast. "We must be more aggressive and effective than the intense competition we face as we advance Canada's commercial interests in key global markets. This new plan represents a sea change in the way Canada's diplomatic assets are deployed around the world, and in so doing, we are ensuring that the commercial success of Canadian firms and investors is entrenched as one of our core foreign policy objectives."

Additional information is available online at Global Markets Action Plan and Priority Market Fact Sheets.

A backgrounder follows.

Backgrounder - Global Markets Action Plan Consultations

As part of Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government of Canada announced a commitment to refresh the 2007 Global Commerce Strategy (GCS) following extensive consultations with Canada's key trade and investment stakeholders, including leaders from the private sector and academia, provincial and territorial partners, and representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises. Economic Action Plan 2012 promised to continue to align Canada's trade and investment objectives with specific high-growth priority markets.

In May 2012, the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, launched a blue-chip, 10-member advisory panel to help update the GCS. The panel served as a sounding board to provide advice with a view to ensuring that the next phase of the GCS maximized economic opportunities for Canadian workers and businesses in key emerging and established markets.
During extensive consultations, five streams of activities informed the establishment of priority markets in order to ensure Canadian businesses had the tools and support needed:

1. Access to key global markets

2. Access to capital

3. Access to technology

4. Access to support services

5. Access to talent

Discussions also focused on key government activities that could help Canadian businesses become more successful in priority markets. The advisory panel provided invaluable insight directly to Minister Fast on the positive role the Government of Canada can play in helping Canadian companies create jobs and opportunities for Canadians and their families.

On August 14, 2012, Minister Fast launched cross-country consultations on the refreshed GCS. Sessions were held in Halifax, Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary and Vancouver. The cross-country consultations involved some 400 business and industry stakeholders. The consultations with Canadians helped inform the Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP).

Furthermore, under the plan, three-year market access plans for each priority market will be developed and implemented. These plans will be updated regularly and will mobilize partnerships across governments and the private sector to make the pursuit of Canada's commercial interests in identified markets a truly coordinated national effort. Since the end of the consultations, the Government of Canada further improved the GMAP to ensure it reflects current and emerging global economic trends.

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