Mr. Speaker, I hope to get into many of the discussions by the members who have already spoken to the broader trade issue.
Although Canada is already compliant with the vast majority of the World Trade Organization trade facilitation agreement provisions, legislative amendments are required to enable Canada to comply with two specific provisions to ratify the agreement.
The required legislative amendments are contained in Bill C-13, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, the Hazardous Products Act, the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Pest Control Products Act and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and to make related amendments to another act.
All legislative amendments proposed in Bill C-13 are related to Articles 10.8.1 and 11.8 of the TFA, which address non-compliant goods and goods in transit, respectively.
From my perspective and the government's perspective, this is a very important piece of legislation. If we feel that world trade is important, this is the type of legislation members should be voting in favour of.
In listening to members from all sides of the House, it appears that there is unanimous support for Bill C-13, which is positive. I say that because at the G20 conference in Istanbul, Turkey, in November 2015, the Prime Minister said that this government would ratify the WTO agreement, which is why we are doing this now. We made a commitment to ratify it, and it is the government's intention to do it as quickly as possible.
Why is this an important agreement? We have all heard of the World Trade Organization. It was formed in 1994. The WTO is made up of 162 countries, and we are one of them. The trade facilitation agreement is the first substantive agreement that has come out of the World Trade Organization. That is a significant accomplishment. It took many years of negotiations, starting in 2001-02 and leading up to when it was signed in December 2013.
Let us look at how it would be ratified. There are 162 countries, and two-thirds of those countries need to ratify it for it to become law. As of today, I believe there are 92. I know that back in June, it was closer to 80, so there is momentum. If we look at our major trading partners, whether it is China, the EU, or the U.S., they have already ratified the agreement. Our Prime Minister has made a commitment to ratify the agreement. The momentum is there. I believe that the will of the House is to see Bill C-13 pass, which is encouraging.
It was not that long ago that it was adopted at second reading and went to committee. I was encouraged today to hear about the goodwill at committee stage, where committee members from all sides worked together to make some changes to the legislation. That is what we are debating now. I believe that it is better legislation, because the Prime Minister was true to his word when he said that we want to see committees be more productive and look at ways to improve legislation, and we have now seen a committee do just that. In a more apolitical fashion, it brought forward possible changes and included stakeholders and members of the opposition, working alongside the government.
Throughout this debate we have heard about how important the World Trade Organization trade facilitation agreement is to our country. According to WTO estimates, with full implementation, and by full implementation we are talking about all 162 countries ratifying and implementing it, the global economy will be boosted in terms of merchandise exports by over $1 trillion, including up to $730 billion in export opportunities accruing to developing countries. That is significant, and that is why I mentioned that if we believe in the importance of trade, this is something all members should get behind.
It would also decrease trade costs for World Trade Organization members, including Canada, by an estimated average of 14%, and for the countries that are least developed, by 17%. It would help small businesses in Canada increase their export presence in emerging markets.
We hear a lot about the importance of small business. I hear from the government House leader on an ongoing basis that small businesses are the backbone of our Canadian economy. I was thinking of doing a special Standing Order 31 on an important celebration. Maybe I could make reference to it now.
This year marks 50 years of four-wheel-drive tractors in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Versatile was the first company to mass produce articulated four-wheel-drive tractors and is the only Canadian manufacturer of agricultural tractors. It was founded in 1966 by Peter Pakosh and Roy Robinson. It covers almost 700,000 square feet, with complete manufacturing and assembly capabilities and full research and development facilities.
Why would I bring that up now? The incredible tractors coming off this line, I would argue, are the best in the world because of the amazing individuals who put them together. We have markets around the world for these tractors. When a tractor is sold to another country, it creates opportunities for Canadians.
I often talk about Manitoba's pork industry. I had the good fortune to follow it through from being a consumer eating pork to actual production. I eat a little bit of pork, I must say.
I visited some of these farms. Hog farms today are quite different from when I was a teenager visiting family farms, where there would be a few pigs in a stall. Today they have large productions. The first room I walked into was a shower room, where people have to disinfect. The second room was a computer room, followed by large barn rooms with thousands of hogs. At a certain point, those hogs go to, in my case, Maple Leaf Foods in Brandon. I know that my colleague from Brandon—Souris is here, and he will attest to it. Go to Maple Leaf farms and see thousands--