Canada’s Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Ed Fast, labelled his recent visit to Cambridge’s high-tech business cluster as a prime opportunity to bring together world-leading firms in both the life sciences and ICT from both the UK and Canada.
Minister Fast said the Cambridge stop on his four-day trade mission was integral in achieving one of the goals of the mission – to ensure that friends and partners in the UK understand what Canada can offer in key sectors of the economy – to sell them, in effect, on doing more business with Canada.
“I’ve been talking about how Canadian businesses – including the ones with me today – are world leaders in their sectors and can help create economic opportunities for all involved through increased trade and investment with the UK,” the Minister told a networking reception at the Møller Centre that drew together more than 60 UK-based firms with a dozen visiting Canadian business organisations.
Two-way merchandise trade with the UK reached $22.4b (£12.7b) last year, making the United Kingdom Canada’s fifth largest trading partner.
The Minister used the occasion of his visit to highlight the conclusion of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
“Both here in the UK and in Canada, businesses with key links to innovative industries in the Cambridge area in both the life sciences and ICT sectors stand to reap significant benefits from the opportunities and improved market access that CETA will bring,” the Minister said.
Once implemented, CETA will eliminate all existing EU tariffs on ICT products, which are as high as 14 per cent.
Additionally, CETA will eliminate the vast majority of existing EU tariffs on advanced manufactured products, including those on medical devices, which are as high at eight per cent.
“This will be a win-win for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic,” the Minister added.
The agreed text of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU is currently undergoing legal review and translation.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said the new trade deal will amount to an injection of $2.4 billion (£1.3 billion) into the UK economy, boost exports by almost a third and create thousands of new jobs.
The EU – and, by extension, the UK – is a priority market for Canada under the country’s Global Markets Action Plan, which is at the heart of Canada’s trade-expansion strategy.
Minister Fast stressed the value of bringing together leaders from high-tech, ICT and life sciences clusters in order to grow markets on both sides.
“Business leaders here understand – as I do – that business opportunities between countries are greatly enhanced when companies are able to meet face-to-face with potential partners at events such as this one,” he said of the networking event that drew from both ICT and the Life Sciences.
The Minister encouraged Cambridge area businesses to take advantage of the Canadian High Commission to the UK’s professional team of trade commissioners, who offer sector-specific expert advice to UK companies looking to forge new partnerships.
For further information on CETA and the Canadian Trade Commissioners Service, go to: http://www.tradecommissioner.gc.ca/eng/home.jsp