Address by Minister of State Ablonczy at              CARICOM-Canada Trade Development Forum                Mississauga, O...
2Canada-CARICOM Leadership Scholarship Program and theEmerging Leaders in the Americas Program.Last year in fact, Canada f...
3Investment, too, is impressive.Canadian direct investment in the Caribbean region last year wasin the billions of dollars...
4This is even more important in these days of acceleratedglobalization.So we’re naturally very excited about our trade agr...
5Throughout the negotiations, Canada takes into account thevulnerabilities and varying levels of development in the region...
6Ladies and gentlemen, CARICOM and Canada have a long storyof friendship and co-operation.From our shared history and lang...
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Address delivered by Canadian Minister is Hon. Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (CARICOm-Canada Trade Development Forum, Nov. 2011)

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Address delivered by Canadian Minister is Hon. Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (CARICOm-Canada Trade Development Forum, Nov. 2011)

  1. 1. Address by Minister of State Ablonczy at CARICOM-Canada Trade Development Forum Mississauga, Ontario - November 2, 2011 Check Against DeliveryThank you for that kind introduction.It’s a pleasure to be here with you to help kick off this dynamicforum.I’d like to congratulate the organizers.They have brought togethera wide variety of businesses, business associations and officialsfrom our many Caribbean partnersandfrom Canada.What a tremendous opportunity for everyone here to make newcontacts, and explore new opportunities for trade and investment.I can tell you there’s a growing excitement about the Caribbean-Canada partnership.Recently at the UN in New York, I had the opportunity to meetwith a number of leaders from Caribbean countries.I told them about Canada’s continued commitment to workingclosely with our partnersin the hemisphere to promote security,democracy,and prosperity.That includes our Prime Minister’s announcement in 2007 of $600million over 10 years in development assistance to the CARICOMregion.It also includes as a well-established scholarship program.Since 2007 Prime Minister Harper has announced two keyscholarship programs that benefit our Caribbean partners –the
  2. 2. 2Canada-CARICOM Leadership Scholarship Program and theEmerging Leaders in the Americas Program.Last year in fact, Canada funded approximately 400scholarshipsfor people from CARICOM countries.It’s another great example of the bridges being built betweenCARICOMandCanada.As well, you can point to our many initiatives to partner with ourneighbours to promote security and good governance.And – certainly -- efforts to boost trade and investment within theregion.The people I met with in New York are very enthusiastic – as weare here – about deepening and expanding the trade and investmentties shared by the CaribbeanandCanada.These ties go back well over a century.In fact, our Trade Commissioner Service has been active in theCaribbean region for over 100 years, helping businesses getestablished there.Since then, we’ve become close partners.Our trade relationship is very well-developed.It’s climbed more than 85 per cent over the last decade alone –from $1.3 billion in 2001 to $2.4 billion in 2010.Many Canadian companies have found great success in theCaribbean market.Sectors like financial services, IT, security,mining, education and infrastructure.
  3. 3. 3Investment, too, is impressive.Canadian direct investment in the Caribbean region last year wasin the billions of dollars.Experience has shown that closer trade and investment, benefitscompanies and people on bothends – in the Caribbean and inCanada alike.But while we’ve made a great start, I believe we’re only scratchingthe surface of our partnership’s full potential.Our government has been very clear that these challenging,uncertain economic times call for more trade and more investmentamong states.We understand the clear, link between trade and jobs, trade andprosperity for families, trade and quality of life for our countries.It’s the time to break down trade barriers, not build them.We’re seeing it around the world – nations making it easier to dobusiness with one another. That’s because global economies areincreasingly intertwined with supply chains, value chainsbecoming more transnational.Canada has successfully negotiated a number of tradeagreementsin our hemisphere and has entered into discussions withother potential regional partners.And look at the Caribbean Community.CARICOM has long provided a vision of how smaller economiescan band together and create a broader competitive commercialplatform.
  4. 4. 4This is even more important in these days of acceleratedglobalization.So we’re naturally very excited about our trade agreementnegotiations with CARICOM .Caribbean businesses have long looked to Canada not only as animportant market in its own right, but as a gateway to the broaderNorth American marketplace.And Canadian businesses in a number of sectors have long calledfor improved access to the Caribbean market.So, we believe that a Canada-CARICOM trade agreement wouldgreatly increase trade and investment flows between us, andbenefit our people and businesses on both sides.That’s because when businesses succeed, people succeed.An agreement would go far beyond tariff reduction andelimination.It would also address other barriers to trade – those regulations,technical requirements and “red tape” that exporters have tocontend with – We could make trade flow quicker and smoother.And we could provide important stability for business activity.And an agreement would spark more two-way investment, bycreating a strong investment framework that would provide asecure, transparent and predictable environment for both sides.An agreement would send a clear signal to Canadian – and globalinvestors – that the Caribbean is a sound place for investment.
  5. 5. 5Throughout the negotiations, Canada takes into account thevulnerabilities and varying levels of development in the region.We’re also committed to negotiating strong labour andenvironmental provisions because we believe that responsibleenvironmental and labour practices support increased trade andinvestment.Negotiations are progressing well, with a third round started inOttawa last April and reconvened by videoconference last week.The negotiating teams are now discussing when the fourth roundwill be held.Trade negotiations are never easy, but I’m confident that we canwork through the remaining issues and emerge with an ambitiousagreement that will be a solid benefit to both sides.Friends, you in this room can play an importantrole in getting thismessage out.You’re here because you see great potential in closer commercialties between the Caribbean and Canada.You are leaders who can strongly communicate the potential with atrade agreement in place – one that breaks down trade barriers andencourages more two-way investment.History has shown that the single greatest way to create lastingeconomic opportunities for people, including our youth, is bylowering trade barriers.In these challenging economic times, that’s exactly what we needto do.
  6. 6. 6Ladies and gentlemen, CARICOM and Canada have a long storyof friendship and co-operation.From our shared history and languages.Our common systems of government.To our strong people-to-people links.More than half a millionCanadians are of Caribbean origin and millions of Canadians visitthe Caribbean every year.And then, the kind of co-operation among businesses we’re seeingright here at this forum.With your support, Canada and CARICOM can set a clearexample, and show the world the power of increasing trade andinvestment opportunities to create jobs, unlock new sources ofprosperity for people and build a brighter future for the nextgeneration.Let’s work together to advocate for an ambitious trade agreementthat will help the Caribbean and Canada create more opportunitiesfor our citizens in the years to come.Together, let’s write the next chapter in our extraordinarypartnership.Thank you very much. --------

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