Ottawa, July 08, 2016—The Canadian Chamber of Commerce applauds the announcement that Canada’s provinces, territories and the federal government have reached an new agreement on internal trade, that once implemented will allow for freer trade within Canada and start to eliminate regulatory barriers between provinces and territories. This has been a long-standing position of the Canadian Chamber, outlined most recently in the Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness for 2016.
“This new agreement is great news for business, and it has the potential to significantly enhance business competitiveness in Canada, depending on the exact measures it contains. Canada already has to struggle against other players on a global stage. We don’t need to be competing amongst ourselves as well,” explained the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “We’re very happy that the provinces’ listened to our recommendations to reduce these barriers, but today’s agreement is only the first step,” he continued.
The new agreement introduces significant changes to ensure that Canadian businesses and consumers will benefit from greater market access, competitive prices and fair treatment across all provinces and territories.
“We’re pleased to see the provinces shift from a limited list of goods and services that are included in free trade to a list of exclusions – meaning all other goods and services are automatically included. This ‘negative list approach’ is a significant difference, not only in the way we administer trade, but also in the way we think about trade in Canada. A negative list will force all provinces and territories to be transparent and accountable for any protectionist choices. The provinces needed to be big in their thinking and bold in their approach – and they succeeded,” said Mr. Beatty.
A recent report released by the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, estimated that internal trade barriers account for a loss of potential revenue in the Canadian economy ranging from $50 Billion to $130 Billion annually. Although details on specific measures are still unknown, it is expected that much work remains to be done in aligning regulations and preparing next steps to tackle areas not covered by this agreement such as alcohol.
“As we approach Canada’s 150th celebrations next year, provincial and territorial premiers are preparing to give us the gift of greater prosperity by ratifying this agreement, which will eliminate these barriers and open our markets across the country. I want to congratulate the Ministers on their leadership, thank them for listening to our recommendations, and let them know that the Canadian Chamber stands by to assist in implementing this agreement as soon as possible” said Mr. Beatty.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at Chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom