Canada does not seem content to wait around for a renegotiated NAFTA to determine its global trade future.
In an interview with BNN on Friday, Canada’s Minister of International Trade said that it’s time for the nation to diversify and look beyond its neighbours to bolster its options.
“There’s never been a better time to diversify. I think Canadians understand that now,” Francois-Philippe Champage told BNN.
“I just came back from meeting the Vice-Premier of China, where we’re progressing our discussion, because we need to plant the seeds. We need to make sure that they understand our position.”
Champagne’s comments come one day after Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said that Canada needs to explore alternatives to the protectionist trade approach being employed stateside.
“We know that with protectionism, everybody loses eventually, including the country that puts the policies in place,” Poloz said in a speech to business leaders in Mexico City.
“The first order of business should be to keep working on opening trade elsewhere in the world.”
Champagne has been busy on that front, having recently returned from Chile where he had discussions about trade within the Asia-Pacific region, as well as having had recent discussions with opening up trade with South American nations including Brazil and Argentina.
Despite all this, Champagne sees Europe as Canada’s ace in the hole.
“The big prize, I think, is the coming into force of CETA… 9,000 tariff lines are going to come down to zero on provisional application which is in a few weeks,” he told BNN. “This is going to be a game-changer for Canada.”
“Canada stands out as a beacon of stability, predictability, inclusiveness, diversity and that’s what makes Canada attractive around the world.”