International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for repeating “diversification” three times in his question, because that strategy shows the underpinnings of our government’s approach to trade and our approach to ensuring that we close the current account deficit with respect to trade. We are in the midst of a diversification effort that really is unparalleled. Sadly, there is no diversification in the NDP’s long and multi-generational opposition to trade.

The member mentioned the energy sector and mentioned that everything else is having difficulties. Really, the global recession in 2008 shows why nations have been struggling, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Canadians relied for several generations on our U.S. markets to the south, which had a voracious appetite for pretty much everything we produced as goods and services.

For example, in 2008 our exports to the United States were $368 billion. Global recession hit. The next year, in 2009, those exports to the United States dropped to $270 billion as a result of the crisis. Statistics in 2012 show that important and critical relationship regrowing for Canada, but those export levels remained at around 10% below the pre-recession levels. It is important to note the consistency on the NDP’s side with respect to the U.S. free trade agreement and ultimately NAFTA: that party opposed both of those agreements.

One in five jobs in Canada is attributable to trade, and 40,000 small, medium, and large Canadian enterprises are exporters. Our global commerce strategy, which was reinvigorated and strategically focused in November of last year into the global markets action plan, is addressing the need for new markets. I will show why, because my friend used some statistics.

The period between 2009 and 2013 is a result of our diversification effort. U.S. export growth is recovering. Traditional markets like the United Kingdom are up 16%; Mexico, our NAFTA partner, is up by 13%. However, importantly, new and emerging markets around the world are up as well. They include China, up 84%, and Hong Kong, up 229%. Through our global markets action plan, this government takes a strategic approach to grow new markets so that Canadian employers can sell our best goods and services in new and growing markets.

There are markets where we have had drops. Germany is down 7% and South Korea shows a drop of 3%, mainly because the U.S. and other countries have free trade agreements with South Korea. I am happy to say the European trade deal agreement in principle will address some of our gaps in Europe, and our negotiations with South Korea, which I urge my hon. colleague to support, will address the trade drop with South Korea that exists because of our competitive disadvantage to our competitors. As we have signed free trade agreements, trade with those countries has grown exponentially because of our work in diversifying. Exports to Colombia have grown by 22%, to Peru by 42%, and to Switzerland by 48%.

Clearly our government has shown through the global markets action plan that we are going to target key areas and key industries where we can sell our world-class goods and services not just to our traditional trading partners here in North America but in important growing economies around the world. I truly hope that my friend and colleague from the trade committee urges his colleagues in the NDP to stop their party’s decades-long opposition to trade and to recognize the opportunities for Canadian employers under our global markets action plan.

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