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In advance of the meeting on December 12 of the Committee on Internal Trade (CIT), a committee comprised of federal, provincial and territorial ministers who are responsible for overseeing the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), we and six other associations are calling on Canadian governments to extend to each other the same benefits provided to Canada's free trade partners.

Businesses and Canadian consumers are negatively affected by internal trade barriers, and we question whether the AIT is still the most appropriate tool for strengthening our economic competitiveness. In our letter to the CIT, we note that the reach and impact of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union will largely benefit Canada. However, within Canada, the internal free trade agreement is much less ambitious.

While the CETA agreement provides a template for improving internal trade in areas such as technical barriers to trade, the Canadian consumer market is small and dispersed over a vast geographic area. It doesn’t make any sense to divide that market into fragments, each protected by meaningless regulatory barriers to trade. We call on all levels of government to extend the same commitments to each other as they do to foreign governments under our most ambitious free trade agreement.

Along with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the signatories to the letter include the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, the Dairy Processors Association of Canada, and the Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada.

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