Evidence of meeting #133 for International Trade in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was way.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Jim Carr  Minister of International Trade Diversification
Terry Sheehan  Sault Ste. Marie, Lib.
Kendal Hembroff  Director General, Trade Negotiations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Christine Lafrance

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

It will be a recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Do I still have a little bit of time, maybe a minute?

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

You do. Go ahead. You have the floor.

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

UN Security Council Resolution 2334 calls upon states “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”. Basically this is our own policy, and this refers to labelling in the settlements.

We do have experience with this in Canada—and again, the European Union has labelling as part of their trade agreement—so I'm wondering if you can tell me why that's not included in our trade agreement with Israel.

11:30 a.m.

Minister of International Trade Diversification

Jim Carr

CIFTA doesn't contain any commitments that are specific to labelling, which falls under the purview of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, as you know—

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

It ruled that we should have distinguished labelling in Canada.

11:30 a.m.

Minister of International Trade Diversification

Jim Carr

Yes, colleague, and you also know that—

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

I'm sorry; I'll have to wrap this up, unless....

11:30 a.m.

Minister of International Trade Diversification

Jim Carr

Yes, just one....

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

Go ahead, sir.

11:30 a.m.

Minister of International Trade Diversification

Jim Carr

I appreciate the question. The matter is now before the Federal Court for judicial review.

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

Okay. Thank you.

Mr. Fonseca, you have the floor.

November 29th, 2018 / 11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, Minister.

Minister, your metaphor of the different trade agreements that we have across the globe now was in terms of building these bridges. The bridges have been built, and now, through the fall economic statement, the fuel is being put to those vehicles and those goods and services, etc., in order to be able to cross those bridges. I'm glad that we put in a lofty goal of 50% of trade diversification by 2025.

We have heard from many of the different stakeholders that support SMEs as well as large business. One of the thoughts that has come to the table is still that EDC, BDC, and our trade commissioner service are just not working as co-operatively and as well as they could. They're not firing on all cylinders.

One of the recommendations that came forward was that they don't have a CRM between themselves. When you have a small business knock on a door, you'd hope that the other entities would all know that the business is looking for support and they'd be able to jump on and provide that support. Is this something that you see as a way forward in helping our SMEs?

11:35 a.m.

Minister of International Trade Diversification

Jim Carr

Yes, and let me also agree with the premise of your question, as I agreed with the premise of my honourable friend to start off this round of questioning, and that is that we have to do better.

The way to do better is to coordinate, as you have suggested in your question, to add more resources, which we have done through the commitments of the fall economic statement, and to be far more aggressive. One of the reasons I'm not home as much as some of my family would like me to be is that this is what I'm doing, and I'm not the only one.

I will also take special note of what many members of Parliament have done, including members around this table, which is to say, in their own communications with their constituents, mostly their small business leaders, “This is available to you.”

We have found ourselves in a very comfortable situation in our relationships with the United States. These relationships go back years in some cases, and in other cases decades. We speak the same language. We're culturally similar, although not identical.

Now there is an understanding that there are these opportunities. Well, why are there opportunities developing now that haven't developed before? They are there because of the huge growth in the middle class in the developing world, with hundreds of millions of people who are largely in the Asia-Pacific region and in South America and, I would argue, also in Africa. These burgeoning middle classes will need our resources, human and natural, offered by Canadians competitively internationally, but they don't know that as well as we want them to.

I agree absolutely with your premise. We'll give you a fuller answer on exactly how we are directing our resources to ensure that we maximize what we believe is to be a moment of opportunity for Canada.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Thank you, Minister.

Moving directly to CIFTA, I know that we have these strong people-to-people ties. We have a lot of business going on. Where we do very well with Israel is around research and development and in the health sciences, in pharma, medicine and medical devices. Israel does very well when it comes to commercializing its products and services. We do very poorly on that front. I know that may be beyond this agreement, but how can we master here in Canada that ability that Israel has?

11:35 a.m.

Minister of International Trade Diversification

Jim Carr

I think the way you handle that kind of question is to first of all find out where the alignments are and where the symmetries are, and to assess where a nation is doing things well and what best practices can be borrowed and the ways in which we can take our strengths and combine them so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I think that's particularly true in the Canada-Israel trading relationship.

The clean-tech and high-tech sectors are so well developed in part because that's also how their universities and their colleges are adapting to these opportunities. There's a tremendous focus on education. These institutions have become world leaders. We are, by the way, no slouches in Canada and are becoming stronger all the time. On AI, for example, in Edmonton at the University of Alberta this week, there are more examples of that research, along with what we see in Waterloo and in Toronto and elsewhere. There are, in many cases, academic agreements and exchanges with Israel. There will be more. This agreement facilitates that.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Thank you.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

Thank you.

We're going into another round. I think we have time for a couple of more MPs, and we're going to start off with the Liberals.

Madam Ludwig, you have the floor.

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Karen Ludwig Liberal New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Thank you, Chair.

Thank you, Minister and officials, for being with us today.

I have two questions. I'm going to try to get them both in.

As you know, Minister, I represent New Brunswick Southwest, which is a riding that's deeply involved with seafood, agrifood and agriculture.

You mentioned in your opening remarks the removal of tariffs from Israel on fish, nuts, tropical fruits and oils. What would a modernized agreement mean in terms of benefits for Canadian exporters in my riding?

11:40 a.m.

Minister of International Trade Diversification

Jim Carr

I think I have a specific answer to your question, colleague.

The benefit for the agricultural and agrifood sector is that 92% of Canadian exports will enter Israel duty free, in unlimited quantities. That's up from 83%. It's tangible; those are the numbers.

For the fish and seafood sector, 98% of Canadian exports will enter Israel duty free in unlimited quantities, which is up from 90%. This means that Canadian exporters will be able to compete on a more level playing field with competitors from other countries, such as the U.S. and the EU.

For Atlantic Canada in particular, the modernized CIFTA will result in benefits for a number of export interests, and I can go into detail if you want; there are numbers. They include processed potato products, fresh apples, frozen vegetables, processed seafood, shrimp, fresh haddock and cod—all in the Atlantic region.

We'll make sure you have a copy of this.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Karen Ludwig Liberal New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Thank you very much.

I think that also certainly feeds into our government's commitment to the environment. Unless we have a strong environment to continue to grow, manage and sustain our industries, particularly in the food sector, we will not be able to seize these opportunities. Thank you.

11:40 a.m.

Minister of International Trade Diversification

Jim Carr

Thank you.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Karen Ludwig Liberal New Brunswick Southwest, NB

You also mentioned in your remarks the global competitiveness for immigration.

Could you speak directly to the access to international students and what that might mean to Canadian companies and Canadian economies in terms of a pool of talent?

11:40 a.m.

Minister of International Trade Diversification

Jim Carr

We're hearing more and more about the importance of student exchanges. As I travel, I hear it from not only the obvious places, which would be university administrators, but also from corporations.

There's another reason this is important. When young people experience other nations—for example, when they are students there—they develop a respect for the people, the culture and the values of those nations. The potential for utilizing that understanding and appreciation of values as these students go on into their careers in professions and in business is extremely valuable for both the students and the countries involved.

You will have noticed a reference in the fall economic statement to a more mature relationship on post-secondary students and education and the importance of becoming more aggressive internationally. That commitment is there. We intend to follow it.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Karen Ludwig Liberal New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Thank you.

I have more time, don't I?