Provinces Sign Canada Free-Trade Agreement

By: Laura Steiner

Canadian Trade Ministers announced Friday the Canada Free Trade agreement (CFTA).  It’s a deal to organize trade between the provinces, and territories.  “The Canada Free Trade Agreement is an ambitious, balanced, and equitable agreement that makes Ontario and all of Canada competitive in a fast-changing global economy.”  Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth Brad Duguid said.  Duguid led the two-year negotiation process

The agreement will improve the flow of goods, and services across provincial and territorial borders.  “More open markets and less red tape mean Canadian businesses can grow and compete globally,” Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said.  This agreement will also bring prices down on many consumer goods.

It sets up a framework of four working groups looking at how to cover financial services, liberalizing alcohol distribution and sales, promoting the fish sector, and developing the food sector in the territories.  “Removing interprovincial trade barriers will increase economic activity, and it could raise Ontario’s GDP by over $9 billion by 2025,” Duguid said.

The recent Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) deal with the European Union pushed the provinces and territories.  The agreement allows foreign companies to bid on larger government contracts.  The CFTA allows access to smaller procurement contracts over $25,000 and opens crown corporations only to Canadian companies.

Both agreements come into effect July 1, 2017.  “I look forward to the agreement taking effect on July 1, 2017, a fitting tribute for the 150th anniversary of Confederation,” Duguid said.