Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth, who served as Chair of the Internal Trade Renewal Negotiations, issued the following statement today regarding the completion of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA):
“The Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) is an ambitious, balanced and equitable agreement that makes Ontario and all of Canada more competitive in a fast-changing global economy. Removing interprovincial trade barriers will increase economic activity, and it could raise Ontario’s GDP by up to one per cent by 2025, or more than $9 billion dollars. Ontario businesses will have improved access to more markets to sell their goods and services. Ontario workers will have more job opportunities and more flexibility over where they can work. And Ontario consumers will have more choice at lower prices.
The CFTA replaces the 1995 Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) and is more comprehensive, covering nearly all sectors of the economy. Unlike the previous agreement, the CFTA will be able to keep up with technology and innovation, as the agreement’s rules will automatically apply to new, emerging areas of our economy.
This agreement makes Canada the first country in the world to have a binding process to harmonize or mutually recognize our existing regulations affecting trade, and it also has a framework that enables a common approach to any new regulations impacted by trade. The CFTA will also align domestic trade rules with international trade agreements such as the Canada-E.U. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
Creating this agreement was the result of more than two years of tremendous effort, including 21 rounds of negotiations and countless hours of work by provinces, territories and the federal government.
However, this is only the beginning. More work remains to be done – for example, the CFTA sets a framework for all parties to start work on enhancing trade in alcohol and financial services within Canada. I would like to thank my colleagues across the provincial, territorial and federal governments for their cooperation and support in delivering the CFTA for the people of Canada. I look forward to the agreement taking effect on July 1, 2017, a fitting tribute for the 150th anniversary of Confederation.”