Expanding international trade around the globe
Premiers discussed the importance of international trade in supporting and sustaining a competitive economy.
Premiers discussed recent agreements with the European Union and South Korea and encouraged the federal government to negotiate new agreements, with input and participation of the provinces and territories.
The United States continues to be Canada’s largest trading partner and Premiers discussed the importance of continuing to develop and support this relationship. Premiers also discussed ongoing trade issues with the U.S., including the need for the U.S. Congress to bring an end to country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef and pork and ongoing challenges with “Buy American” provisions in U.S. legislation.
Premiers discussed how Canada’s competitors are securing free trade agreements with key trading partners in Asia. Premiers expressed their strong support for the creation of a Canada-China panel to actively explore the way to deepen bilateral trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.
The benefits of new free trade agreements can only be realized if Canadian goods and services have a clear path to international markets. It is therefore incumbent on the federal government to ensure that it has sufficient capacity in essential trade-related services to take full advantage of opportunities created by free trade agreements.
Premiers reiterated the importance of provinces and territories having the opportunity to be more actively involved in the negotiations of international trade agreements in order to ensure provincial and territorial interests are fully considered and represented.
In circumstances in which the federal government has made commitments to or agreements with provinces/territories that are linked to international trade negotiations, the federal government should honour these commitments and obligations.
Investment in Infrastructure
Premiers agreed that investing in public infrastructure is a priority for provinces and territories and that there is a need to build on the successful infrastructure partnerships with the federal government. Canada needs to consistently invest at a level that reflects the proven capacity of public infrastructure to:
- drive economic growth;
- manage congestion and facilitate getting goods to market;
- drive international trade;
- increase productivity;
- improve Canadians’ quality of life; and
- mitigate the impacts of severe weather on our communities.