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View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2019-06-19 21:10 [p.29481]
Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to rise in the House today in support of Bill C-100, the implementing legislation for the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement.
Last fall, we concluded negotiations on the new NAFTA with the U.S. and Mexico. Throughout the intense negotiations, we remained steadfast and focused on what really matters to Canadians: jobs, growth and, of course, expanding the middle class.
We refused to capitulate, and we secured a good deal for Canadians. Since negotiations began in August 2017, Canada has engaged constructively and pragmatically with our NAFTA partners to reach a good deal for Canadians.
The agreement provides key outcomes for Canadian businesses, workers and communities in areas such as labour, the environment, automotive trade, dispute resolution, culture and energy.
We guaranteed continued access for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses to our largest export market, and we succeeded in preserving key elements of NAFTA, including chapter 19, which is really the heart and soul of the agreement, the all-important dispute settlement mechanism and the cultural exception, something we had fought very hard for in the negotiations in the 1980s.
We addressed important bread-and-butter issues like cutting red tape to make it easier for Canadian businesses to export to the U.S. market.
The new NAFTA will safeguard more than $2 billion a day in cross-border trade and tariff-free access.
I will provide just one example to the House. In 2017, trilateral trade exceeded $1 trillion, more than a threefold increase since 1994, when NAFTA was first born. The North American free trade zone is the biggest economic region in the world, encompassing a regional market of $22 trillion U.S. and over 480 million consumers. With only 7% of the world's population, the U.S., Canada and Mexico together now account for more than a quarter of the world's GDP.
The new NAFTA represents an opportunity for Canada to build upon the highly integrated economies in North America. Implementing and ratifying the new NAFTA will help maintain Canada's global competitive position. Our three countries are among one another's largest trading partners and sources of foreign investment.
It is important at this juncture to acknowledge all the work that went into these negotiations. I am referring to the Prime Minister, who was highly engaged on this, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other ministers who were very much embedded in the process and, of course, the many members of Parliament who consistently went to the United States to explain the significance of this agreement to Canadians.
Preferential access also means a level playing field for Canadian products and will provide Canadian companies with a leg-up on others that do not yet have the same level of access to the U.S. and Mexican markets. This will translate into increased profits and market opportunities for Canadian businesses of all sizes, in all sectors and in every part of our beautiful country.
Our relationship with the U.S. and Mexico is about more than simply trade. Our relationship is also about friendship, shared values, prosperity and security. We do not just trade with each other; we make things together and we co-operate to ensure the mutual safety and security of the continent.
It is important to emphasize that throughout the negotiations, this government worked hard to advocate for the interests of Canadian families. Our efforts extended to all levels of government and society, from continuing constructive dialogues between Prime Minister Trudeau and the U.S. and Mexican presidents to conversations—
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