May 18, 2014 10:00 am

Trade agreements necessary to revive Canadian economy

Above: Laura Dawson and Barrie McKenna explain why CETA still hasn’t taken effect

OTTAWA – Trade agreements are a point of pride for the Conservative government. But two major agreements announced with great fanfare have yet to come to fruition and industry experts say we need better trade agreements signed faster.

Canada needs the trade agreements to come into effect urgently, said Barrie McKenna, national business correspondent for the Globe and Mail, in an interview on The West Block with Tom Clark.

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READ MORE: Canada’s new free-trade deal with EU concludes, ratification up to two years away

“Our export volumes are still below what they were in 2000,” said McKenna.

“Canada has not come out of the recession very well and we need to get our export economy going… waiting another three years, two years, is really going to be problematic for a lot of exporters in Canada.”

READ MORE: Exports showing signs of life, but what took so long?

Laura Dawson, an independent trade consultant, called the Canada – European Union trade agreement (CETA) the most complex deal Canada has made since NAFTA, which explains the amount of time necessary for both sides to ratify it. Dawson also says she thinks the benefits from CETA will be worth the wait.

However, Dawson did propose a different tactic for more effective bargaining since high tariffs are a key issue when Canada comes to the negotiating table.

“Maybe if we do the unilateral disarmament approach, we might have a bit more credibility in getting the things that we want in manufacturing services and other non-agricultural sectors,” said Dawson, referring to an idea from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives to remove all tariffs on imports.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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