Recently, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that was negotiated between Canada and the European Union (EU).
This agreement is a major economic development for Nova Scotia that will create good paying jobs in our region. We should expect to see further announcements as part of the federal government’s Atlantic Growth Strategy, that will use international trade and investment to give a significant boost to the small towns and rural communities I represent.
Across Canada, we have an abundance of natural resources and a highly-skilled workforce. Nova Scotia has a particular advantage in this regard given our abundant fishery, fertile land for agriculture, significant forestry industry, and our many universities and NSCC campuses. These factors combine to give us a competitive advantage in the global economy. However, because our population is small relative to the magnitude of our lands and the capacity of our skilled workers, our ability to produce exceeds the needs of our consumers and we must sell our products to the global marketplace to maximize our economic potential.
CETA paves the way for local businesses to sell their products to one of the world’s largest and most affluent markets – the European Union. When Canadian businesses sell goods to Europe, it means more money in Canadian communities and more jobs here at home.
What is tremendous about this trade agreement is that the benefits are not reserved for major financial centres. While big cities have the potential to benefit as well, CETA will have a positive impact in small towns and rural communities, in places like Pictou County, Antigonish, the Musquodoboit Valley, and the Eastern Shore.
By way of example, one of the biggest winners from this trade agreement will be Nova Scotia fishing communities. Our seafood products are in high demand all over the world, and currently face immense barriers to trade in Europe with tariffs as high as 20 per cent in some instances. By allowing our seafood producers and processors tariff-free access to European markets, we will see an increased demand for Nova Scotia seafood, which allows local producers to get a higher price for their products and brings more money into rural Nova Scotia.
We can also expect to see other industries in Nova Scotia to benefit as well, such as local distilleries that hope to build their brand internationally, manufacturers that sell products worldwide, or tech companies whose training materials are used around the world. These kinds of export-oriented small-and-medium-sized businesses exist in our region today. I have met their owners and am amazed by their ambition. We are lucky to have them creating jobs in our communities. By embracing trade with Europe, we will help them succeed in a global economy at a time when much of the world is facing inward.
Canada is open for business, and Europeans are buying. Let’s get behind this trade deal so we can help local businesses put more people to work in our community.
Member of Parliament