DIEPPE (GNB) – Treasury Board President Roger Melanson, who is also minister responsible for trade policy, hosted the inaugural meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers under the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement today in Dieppe.

The agreement, which entered into force on July 1, commits governments to a comprehensive set of rules intended to help achieve a modern and competitive economic union for all Canadians.

The focus of the meeting was to ensure strong implementation of the agreement and discuss progress achieved on new collaborative initiatives.

“While we are proud of the progress achieved in negotiating the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, much work remains to be done to implement it,” said Melanson. “I asked my fellow ministers to join me today so that we could maintain momentum in implementation. Dismantling unjustifiable barriers to internal trade is an ongoing job which we all take very seriously.”

Five months since the coming into force of the agreement, the ministers noted two highlights:

  • The agreement’s new Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table, comprised of one senior representative from each signatory, is now operational. The group will intensify its work over the coming months as it seeks to identify regulations to be aligned across the country. The group is a collaborative mechanism mandated to oversee the process of reconciling regulatory measures that act as barriers to trade, investment and labour mobility.
  • The agreement’s Alcoholic Beverages Working Group is on track to develop recommendations for the consideration of the ministers.

Melanson said he welcomed the collaborative spirit being shown by all governments to ensure a modern, efficient domestic market.

“We must demonstrate to Canadian workers and companies that we take the unrestricted movement of goods, services, investments and people very seriously and we will continue to meet and drive progress in all these areas,” he said.

Quick facts:

  • The Canadian Free Trade Agreement establishes free trade rules that apply across the Canadian economy. Rules apply automatically to all economic activity unless something is specifically excluded.
  • Internal trade represents just under one-fifth of Canada’s annual GDP, or $370 billion. It also accounts for almost 40 per cent of provincial and territorial exports.
  • According to the Bank of Canada, removing interprovincial trade barriers could add up to two-tenths of a percentage point to Canada’s potential output annually. This is roughly comparable to the projected economic benefit from the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
  • The agreement replaced the existing Agreement on Internal Trade on July 1.

Since coming into force, the agreement has:

  • Opened new public procurement opportunities to suppliers from across the country.
  • Strengthened dispute resolution provisions.
  • Broadened regulatory notification requirements.
  • Prevented discriminatory treatment in additional sectors of Canada’s economy.

These initiatives and provisions are intended to ultimately result in more choice and opportunity for Canadians, to open up markets for businesses and to lead to more jobs.