Interventions in the House of Commons
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View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my approach is to be on the road promoting Canada. As the member well knows, I was in Vietnam. I was also in Korea, Singapore, and Japan just last week.
What we said in Vietnam, and my colleague knows this well, is that countries have recommitted to making sure that we have open, fair, and balanced trade in the Asia-Pacific region. Principled trade is what people want. We have committed to taking action, so we are going to have the next meeting of officials in Japan. We remain with a set of options, because that is what Canadians expect.
I can reassure all Canadians who are watching at home this morning that Canada will be at the table when it comes to trade—
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague knows that Canada is taking a leadership role. We owe it to Canadian families and Canadian workers, and some may be watching us this morning. When it comes to trade, Canada is taking a progressive approach, an inclusive approach.
Canada stands up in a world where there is uncertainty and instability. We are the beacon of stability, predictability, and rule of law. Our progressive trade agenda is making a difference not only at home for our workers but around the world.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent for giving me the opportunity to talk about the Invest in Canada agency. That is exactly what we need to attract investments here in Canada. This agency will provide concierge services and attract investments that may be made in the riding of my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent.
All of Canada's municipalities and provinces applaud the creation of this agency. What we want to do in 2017 is to attract investments to Canada because we know that economic growth creates good jobs for Canadians across the country.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, we are subject to your rules and, if you agree to allow me to respond to my colleague on this important issue, then I will.
Obviously, we expect all Canadian businesses abroad to conduct their activities responsibly and to respect human rights.
I thank my colleague for raising this important issue because I recently met with representatives from Amnesty International and the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, and we talked about those issues.
I want to assure my colleague that, on my last visit to Chile, the first thing that I did was to meet with people from UN Women to learn about Canadian mining operations in that country. It is something that I take very seriously. Every time the opportunity presents itself, I remind Canadian companies that the government expects them to follow the strictest rules on corporate social responsibility, and I will continue to do so whenever the opportunity arises.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, I am very pleased to be here this evening.
I will be speaking for about 10 minutes, Madam Chair.
The Prime Minister gave me a very clear mandate as Minister of International Trade to increase Canadian trade and attract job-creating investors to Canada by expanding the economic opportunities offered to all Canadians. I am proud to say that the government has made significant progress on that front, but a lot of work remains to be done.
There is a growing recognition that when it comes to international trade, business as usual is no longer an option. Many people, especially those working hard to join the middle class, feel that trade and globalization have not worked for them. In response, we have options: protectionism, the status quo, or we can rethink the method, form, and function of free and fair trade in the world.
This government believes that we can do better. It is trade that has helped build this country into a top 10 global economy with the world's 30th largest population. With a population representing about 0.5% of the world population, we represent about 2.5% of global trade. I have been saying around the world that trade is in the DNA of Canadians, so for us, protectionism is not an option.
Likewise, the status quo is unacceptable. It is holding us back while others continue to move forward. Not only do Canadians rightfully expect us to keep pace with global trends in international trade, but they also expect us to actively participate in all trade programs.
If we do not seek the social licence to implement an ambitious trade program, we will succumb to the forces that oppose it.
To that end, our government is pursuing a new progressive trade agenda. At its most basic level, progressive trade is about ensuring that all segments of society can take advantage of, and otherwise benefit from, the opportunities that flow from trade and investment.
In concrete terms, this means that we will give more consideration to the interests and ambitions of smaller companies, especially those owned by women, young people, new immigrants, and indigenous entrepreneurs by bringing them to the forefront so they can realize their full potential.
To help Canadian jurisdictions attract global investment, we will be investing $218 million over the next five years to create the invest in Canada hub, a new federal body dedicated to attracting leading global firms to Canada to support middle-class prosperity by bringing good jobs, fresh capital, and new technologies to our economy.
We will also enhance our trade promotion support to Canadian businesses to ensure that they can take advantage of the opportunities created by trade agreements.
As Minister of International Trade, I play a leading role in promoting the benefits of trade with Canada as well as Canada's attractiveness as an investment location at the international level. In that sense, I consider myself to be Canada's chief marketing officer, of sorts.
Together with my officials in Canada's world-class trade commissioner service, I am pursuing four parallel avenues of action.
First, I am engaging with Canadian firms, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to encourage their participation in international trade while cultivating relationships with our major long-standing exporters responsible for the bulk of our exports to ensure we are aware of their trade development priorities and any market access concerns. At the same time, I am reaching out to high-value foreign investors to promote Canada's attractiveness as an investment location to the highest level within major international business.
Lastly, I am promoting Canadian capabilities in the most promising sectors, namely aerospace, the automotive industry, clean technology, the oil and gas industry, and forestry at major trade shows and trade missions.
My international commitment is also focused on key markets that present the greatest potential for Canada. Now more than ever is the best time to diversify our markets. This includes high-growth emerging markets as well as established trade partners, especially those with whom we have free trade agreements.
Finally, as far as our progressive trade agenda goes, I will be communicating with Canadians to sustain support for the global trading system here at home and to promote awareness of the benefits of trade and investment for Canadians, Canadian businesses, and Canada's economic prosperity. As the so-called chief marketing officer, the Prime Minister has instructed me in his mandate letter to increase the support provided to Canadian businesses to take advantage of the opportunities that flow after trade agreements are signed.
In other words, and my colleagues would join me in this, it is about making trade real for people. Trade deals for people mean better jobs for our middle class, more choice and better prices for our consumers, and a chance for SMEs to export around the world.
That is why Global Affairs Canada created the free trade agreement promotion task force, which is responsible for working with businesses in order to help them identify and reap the benefits of these agreements. The task force has mobilized business associations in order to come up with a new model for promoting free trade agreements so they can ensure follow-up.
Our priority is to promote the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic trade agreement, commonly known as CETA. I am delighted that Bill C-30 received royal assent yesterday, and I am pleased to point out that CETA should be provisionally in effect very soon.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the work of my colleagues and members of the Standing Committee on International Trade, who worked so hard to make this agreement a reality for Canadians. It took vision to begin the discussions over a decade ago. Today, all around the globe, it is the right agreement at the right time, not only for Canada and Europe, but also for the entire world.
We are also undertaking promotional activities to support other trade agreements, such as the Canada–Korea Free Trade Agreement, which came into force on January 1, 2016, and as my colleague, the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, was saying, the Canada–Ukraine free trade agreement, which is expected to be applied some time this summer. Once CETA is in force, Canadian companies will enjoy unprecedented duty-free access to a market of more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of over $22 trillion.
I often say around the world that Canada soon will have preferential market access to about 1.1 billion consumers. This is a fact that is noted around the world. We are becoming a bridge between the Pacific and the Atlantic. That, with our progressive trade agenda, is being noted around the world. Canada will be one of only a handful of countries that have guaranteed preferential access to both the U.S. and the EU, which together account for nearly half the world's economic output.
For most exporters, the most visible component of CETA is undoubtedly the elimination of tariffs in all sectors. Presently, only 25% of EU tariff lines on Canadian goods are duty-free. That number will rise to 98% as soon as the provisional application of the agreement takes effect and to 99% once all of the tariffs have been phased out. Over 9,000 tariff lines will be duty-free when the provisional application takes effect. This will create opportunities for people in the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and across the country, including the territories. All Canadian communities will benefit from this agreement, the most progressive agreement Canada and the European Union have ever negotiated.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, I would like to thank, first, my parliamentary secretary, who is doing an outstanding job, and again, take a bit of time to thank colleagues on the other side of the aisle. This is a whole of Canada effort that, as I said before, will benefit Canadians across our nation.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank publicly the former minister of international trade, now our distinguished Minister of Foreign Affairs, for her extreme leadership, leadership that was needed, leadership at a time when we needed to make sure we put CETA back on track.
As I said before, Canadian exporters will benefit. Canadian consumers will benefit. Canadian workers will benefit. This is a good agreement for both Canada and Europe.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, there is no doubt about the ambitious trade agenda Canada has today. There has never been a better time to be Canada and to be ambitious. We have the social licence to have an ambitious trade agenda, because we invested in Canadians, we invested in middle-class families, we invested in infrastructure.
However, when it comes to Mercosur, I will just highlight how it is important. That is why we launched public consultations. We want to hear from Canadians across the nation and hear about the benefits and the challenges they see.
Mercosur, for those watching at home, and I am sure there are many, comprises Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay. This is an amazing market of 260 million people, with a strong middle class.
We are not only looking to the Atlantic, we are also looking south. We are looking at the Pacific alliance, and we are also looking at the Asia-Pacific.
My job as the Minister of International Trade is to make sure that Canadians across the nation have access to the most important markets in the world.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, I would like to thank my colleague for her question.
As the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs mentioned, the bonds between Canada and Ukraine are those of friendship. We are connected not only through personal relationships, but also through the free trade agreement that was recently signed by the Ukrainian president and is currently going through the stages of our Parliament and democratic institutions.
I would like to reiterate that trade can be a force for good in the world. We are making an effort to promote human rights in Ukraine and help that country, but signing an agreement like this shows that trade can be a force for good because it gives Canadians and Ukrainians the opportunity to work together in a more beneficial way.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am happy that my colleague has a few questions for me, because we do work together very well.
I must say, with respect to China, as the member said, I am happy. I believe there are a few people watching us at home. The member said that he is a believer in what we can achieve in the Asia-Pacific region. We are doing that very much on our terms and on our timeline. As members know, we have started public consultations to hear from Canadians about the challenges and the opportunities that they see with respect to a possible free trade agreement with China. We are consulting widely, not only with Canadians, which is the right thing to do, but also with other nations which have trade agreements with China.
I can assure the member that any deal would be on our terms and on our timeline.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I am very grateful that my colleague recognizes I could have some talent at other things.
One thing that I will say is that as my hon. colleague would know, let us start where it started.
I was in Chile, and what we achieved there was purpose, action, and ambition. The first thing we did when the minister met in Chile last time was to recommit to open, fair, and principled trade in the Asia-Pacific region. After that, we said action. We tasked our officials. My colleague would be happy to know that we took leadership.
I invited, on behalf of Canada, trade officials to come and look at options. That was the step on which ministers agreed. We needed to have our officials look at options. That is what they did here in Canada, in Toronto. We also had ambition. We all agree that we need to remain in the spirit of a progressive agreement, a comprehensive agreement, a modern agreement.
I am happy to report that our fine officials have had the chance to meet with other officials in Toronto, and that I will be leaving tomorrow for Vietnam with our great deputy minister to look at and consider a set of options. I can assure the member that whenever it comes to trade, Canada will be at the table. We will look at these options.
Canadians watching us at home understand that Asia-Pacific is the place we need to make sure Canada is present. We are very much a Pacific nation.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, my hon. colleague will be happy to learn that not only am I going to Vietnam, but I am also going on a trade mission after that with respect to softwood lumber. I will be in Korea, Japan, and Singapore, countries which very much matter.
My hon. colleague mentioned ASEAN. It is going to be a good opportunity again to engage with my Singapore counterpart to make sure we push the feasibility study that he knows the countries of ASEAN are undertaking to see whether or not we should pursue a free trade agreement between Canada and ASEAN. I have been pushing for that, and I will be redoing that when I am in the region.
He mentioned Japan. I am sure he will be very happy to learn that my counterpart even called me before the officials were meeting in Toronto. We have a very fine relationship between Canada and Japan. Actually, I speak French with my counterpart. Imagine, Canada and Japan do diplomacy in French. That is a first. Actually, we have a very close relationship. We will continue that.
I am very happy that my hon. colleague recognizes the importance of Asia-Pacific. I count on his support. He said it. Canadians expect us to have an ambitious trade agenda when it comes to the Asia-Pacific region. We are going to continue engaging, obviously.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I would like to take a minute to thank the member for New Brunswick Southwest very much. We say it is a whole-of-government effort when it comes to our trade relationship with the United States. I would like to applaud her work not only as a member of the trade committee but in her own riding. She shared her story, which is very powerful. The Minister of Foreign Affairs just referred to it.
She mentioned something. For those who are watching at home, I would like to take a moment to applaud the more than 1,300 trade commissioners who serve Canada so well in Canada and in more than 100 cities around the world. I want to take the chance, because some of them might be watching us, to thank them on behalf of the Government of Canada and all of us in the House, who I am sure applaud their work. They are helping--
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, I would like to thank all the employees of EDC, who are doing fabulous work around the world. Singapore is our new post outside Canada, and I will be there to salute their work and the work of all the employees of EDC in helping Canadians succeed.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, the Minister of International Development very clearly and eloquently explained how she and I work together when it comes to this corporation. Thus, I have nothing to add to my colleague's comments on this issue.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, I have a lot of esteem for my colleague's work on the committee. Yes, I did raise that issue when I met with Chinese officials on my last trip to China.
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