Canada Ratifies Free Trade Deal With Liechtenstein


Canada has continued to advance its aggressive free trade agenda after completing its domestic procedures to ratify a free trade agreement with the states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade said that the free trade agreement with EFTA, which consists of four states including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, received Royal Assent on April 29 and is on track to come into effect on July 1, 2009.

“Trade is extremely important to Canada’s continued prosperity,” said Day. “Implementing this agreement — the first free trade agreement Canada has ever completed with European countries — will open more doors for Canadian producers and exporters by increasing their access to the wealthy and sophisticated EFTA markets.”

Canada’s producers and exporters will benefit immediately from the elimination of duties on all Canadian non-agricultural merchandise exports upon entry into force of the FTA. Tariffs will also be eliminated or reduced on selected Canadian agricultural exports. As well, Canadian companies will be able to access innovative technologies and other inputs from EFTA markets at lower costs, including through the importation of machinery and scientific and precision instruments.

“This agreement will provide not only a strategic opportunity for Canadian companies to tap directly into EFTA value chains, but also indirect access to the European Union,” continued Day. “The government of Canada is committed to opening up new markets for Canadian business and expanding existing ones. During this period of extraordinary global economic challenges and uncertainty, it is more important than ever that we pursue international trade opportunities.”

Together, the EFTA countries were Canada’s seventh-largest merchandise export destination in 2008. Canada exported CAD4.2bn (USD3.5bn) in merchandise to the EFTA countries in 2008, with two-way merchandise trade valued at CAD13.2bn.

In addition to EFTA, Canada has signed free trade agreements with Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, Israel and the United States (through the North American Free Trade Agreement which also involves Mexico). However, the Conservative government has actively been attempting to expand this free trade treaty network and has negotiations pending with Panama, Korea, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dominican Republic, the ‘Central American 4’ (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) and Singapore. Canada has also concluded negotiations with Jordan. Talks towards Canada’s most significant trade agreement to date, that with the European Union, are expected to commence on May 6 at the EU-Canada Summit in Prague.