The Honourable Peter Van Loan Speaks About His Trip to Estonia (And Other Countries As Well)
"I went went through Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia, it was a very, very positive trip and the major purpose was to promote the free trade negotiations that were under way with the European Union right now. In fact during most of the time I was travelling the fourth round of discussions were under way in Brussels at the exact same time, so it was an interesting dynamic.
“I can tell you the response that I recieved was very positive in each and every country that I went to both from the government and opposition members. A study was conducted before the negotiations began that indicated a potential increase of twenty percent in two way trade, an potential benifit of 12 billion dollars to the Canadian economy and a potential 26 billion dollar increase in the economy of the European Union.
“In Canada, there are some who are critical of the free trade negotiations with the European Union and say we should really be focussing our energies and efforts not so much on Europe, which is an economy in decline but rather on China and India. China and India are important but reality is that you have in Europe 100 million people who for a half a century lived under communism, who were held back economically, who for the last fifteen or so years been experiencing very strong economic growth. It’s is a high growth economic area and we have people to people ties and there is a tremendous opportunity to grow there if we take advantage of that. The people who are best positioned if we take advantage of that are people who come from those expatriate communities.
“I was also promoting general bilateral trade interests, investment interests and promoting Canada's strong economy. We are in a tremendously strong position compared with our major compeditors around the world, we are experiencing the strongest economic growth of any of the major developed economies, of any of the G7 economies and Canada is expected to continue to do that according to International Monetary Fund and the Organization For Economic Co-Operation and Development. We have the lowest debt and the lowest deficit of any of the major developed economies and of course that was an issue that was on everybody's mind in Europe right now with the financial challenges there. We have an attractive environment for free enterprise which is underlined by the fact that we will be having the lowest taxes on job creating businesses of any of the developed economies, again making us an attractive destination.
“We have the highest, most skilled workforce with the highest proportion of individuals with a postsecondary education of any OECD country. We have an excellent quality of life that is ideal for keeping knowledge workers here in Canada at a time when innovation and creative workforces are more important than ever.
“In the last budget we've made Canada a free trade zone for inputs into the manufacturing process, whether it be equipment, parts, raw materials. Those coming into Canada for use in manufacturing are tariff free no matter what country they are coming from with no expectation of reciprocation, simply to make us. We also have the soundest banking system in the world. We are coming in from a global economic downturn where banks were failing across the world. Because we had not one bank failure, nor bank bailout, the World Economic Forum rates us as having the soundest banking system in the world and makes us very attractive. So increasingly if you look at the figures in the past couple of months, youve seen that. To conclude, a very positive trip.