Oct 19, 2021

How the Minister of International Trade can help keep businesses competitive

After over a year-and-a-half of lockdowns and sacrifice, Canadians are seeing the benefits of their efforts to stop COVID-19. The pandemic is not over, but we can now look beyond COVID to plan for our future. Now, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is writing “mandate letters” to members of the Cabinet with policy priorities that will support growth of the Canadian economy.

International commerce plays a critical role in the success of Canadian businesses, with the value of two-thirds of our GDP occurring in trade activity. It is vital for businesses to be able to use international trade to access new customers and source inputs competitively.

The Minister of International Trade should:

  • Focus on trade discussions with the United Kingdom and Indonesia, as well as CPTPP expansion, to create new opportunities for businesses to export goods and services, and facilitate investment.
  • Enable businesses to utilize trade agreements, tackling non-tariff barriers, particularly in the agriculture and agri-food sector, that prevent usage of the agreements.
  • Engage with the World Trade Organization’s e-commerce negotiations to foster coherent global digital trade rules in order to complement modernized domestic data and privacy rules.
  • Work with our partners at the WTO to ensure the continued protection of intellectual property rights and advancing work on trade rules for distortive industrial subsidies.
  • Revitalize our bilateral relationship with the United States, with a particular focus on exploiting new opportunities in the defence sector, critical minerals and regulatory cooperation, as well as pushing back against Buy American. These activities should be accompanied by ongoing consultation with Canadian businesses.
  • Work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to improve Canada’s export permit system to enhance transparency with companies and ensure service standards are met.
  • Deliver a renewed responsible business conduct strategy that provides predictability for companies and creates a Canadian brand as a competitive advantage for companies operating abroad.
  • Implement a trade strategy to support exports of knowledge-based goods to grow Canada’s digital capabilities. 
  • Engage with international partners to advocate for export opportunities for medicinal cannabis.

To see all 21 of our mandate letters to ministers, click here.

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