Dieppe – November 24, 2017 – The Committee on Internal Trade Chair, Minister Roger Melanson, hosted the inaugural meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers under the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) in Dieppe, New Brunswick. The CFTA entered into force on July 1, 2017. The CFTA commits governments to a comprehensive set of rules that will help achieve a modern and competitive economic union for all Canadians.
The focus of the Dieppe meeting was to ensure strong implementation of the CFTA and discuss progress achieved on new collaborative initiatives established under the CFTA.
“While we are proud of the progress achieved in negotiating the CFTA, much work remains to be done to implement it”, said Honorable Roger Melanson. “I asked my fellow ministers to join me today so that we could maintain momentum in implementing the CFTA. 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 CFTA on July 1, 2017, ministers welcomed progress on CFTA implementation. They noted several highlights:
Ministers announced that the CFTA’s new Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT) – comprised of one senior representative from each CFTA 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 RCT is an ambitious new collaborative mechanism mandated to oversee the process of reconciling regulatory measures that act as barriers to trade, investment and labour mobility.
Ministers also announced that the CFTA’s Alcoholic Beverages Working Group is on track to develop recommendations for Ministers’ consideration to enhance trade in alcoholic beverages within Canada.
New Brunswick’s Minister Melanson, chair of the Committee on Internal Trade, underscored the importance of strong CFTA implementation, and 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”, added Minister Melanson.
The CFTA 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 (CETA).
- The CFTA replaced the existing Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) on July 1, 2017.
Since coming into force, the CFTA has also:
- Opened new public procurement opportunities to suppliers from across the country;
- Strengthened dispute resolution provisions;
- Broadened regulatory notification requirements; and
- Prevented discriminatory treatment in additional sectors of Canada’s economy.
These initiatives and provisions will ultimately result in more choice and opportunity for Canadians, will open up markets for businesses and lead to more jobs.