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Ottawa, December 5, 2013 — In advance of the annual meeting of the Committee on Internal Trade (CIT), a group of seven Canadian businesses and professional associations calls on Canadian governments to extend to each other the same benefits provided to Canada’s free trade partners.

Businesses and Canadian consumers are negatively impacted by internal trade barriers and the organizations question whether the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) is still the most appropriate tool for strengthening our economic competitiveness. In a letter to the CIT, the associations 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.

The organizations note that 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. The organizations 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.

The Committee on Internal Trade meets on December 12. The Committee is comprised of federal, provincial and territorial Ministers who are responsible for overseeing the AIT.

Signatories to the letter include the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, 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, and the Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada.