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2018 was a busy year for Canadian business and international trade. A lot is happening close to home and elsewhere around the world with big implications for Canadian exporters. The Canadian Chamber is breaking down this year’s top 10 Canadian trade stories.

  1. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation was a rollercoaster ride for Canadian business, and we ended up with the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMCA). While not perfect, the deal delivered for Canadian Chamber members in some of the most crucial areas.

  2. As busy as it was with CUSMA, it's not mission accomplished yet. The unjustified American tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium exports continued to be a problem facing Canadian business. Canadian exports are not a national security threat, and these tariffs only hurt North American competitiveness.

  3. Canada also got negotiations underway with Mercosur this year. This includes two G20 countries: Argentina and Brazil. This bloc offers further opportunities for Canadian business to expand export opportunities.

  4. Where Canadian business did succeed this year is the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This will open markets in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region and provide improved access to Japan.

  5. Building on our access to CPTPP, the federal government launched exploratory trade talks with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc. This initiative would further cement Canadian business export opportunities in the region. We advocated for this partnership throughout 2018; click here to view our submission.

  6. Shifting to Europe, this year marked the one-year anniversary since the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) came into effect. Canadian business exports to the EU have increased; however, we look forward to helping even more companies take advantage of the agreement in 2019.

  7. We continue to watch developments in the U.K. given is it Canada’s largest trading partner in Europe. We were happy to discuss with our members and Liam Fox, Member of Parliament and Secretary of State for International Trade in the U.K., the seamless transition of CETA into a new Canada-U.K. trade agreement.

  8. The federal government stepped into the breach this year on World Trade Organization (WTO) reform with the Ottawa ministerial. The WTO is the backbone of the global trading system, and reform is needed to keep the system working for Canadian business.

  9. This year, we were also looking for concrete action on reducing barriers to trade within our country from the first ministers’ meeting. Sadly, we still trade more effectively with others than we do ourselves.

  10. The Toronto Blue Jays traded Steve Pearce, the World Series MVP.
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