EDMONTON, CANADA - Edmonton Chamber Celebrates Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is pleased with the announcement on April 7 of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, which will govern interprovincial trade when it takes effect on July 1, 2017.
The new agreement replaces and significantly improves upon the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), most notably by automatically applying to all economic activity, unless an activity is specifically excluded. The Edmonton Chamber is a long-time advocate of reducing internal trade barriers in order to increase competitiveness, open markets, and improve investment and growth opportunities for its members and all Alberta businesses.
“Our country has long had barriers in their trade relationships across the provinces and territories. That thinking has changed now. With so many sectors of our world taking actions to limit trade, our country has opened the doors internally,” said Janet Riopel, President and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. “We often hear from our members that it’s easier to trade abroad than within Canada’s borders.”
There are still other trade barriers among provinces and territories that need addressing, including trade restrictions on alcoholic beverages. The agreement now includes a process to resolve those barriers, making room for businesses and other stakeholders to identify trade barriers and work with government to address them.
“We’re glad to see there is a process in place to remove remaining barriers,” said Riopel. “We’ll be paying close attention to this process to ensure that it proceeds smoothly and works as intended.”
The number of Alberta companies that do business outside the province is relatively low—34 percent of small- and medium-sized firms in Alberta rely solely on clients in a single city.
“This agreement creates enormous opportunities for Alberta businesses to build partnerships across the country, north, east and west,” said Riopel. “Reducing trade barriers will open up opportunities for economic growth, allowing Alberta businesses to expand and create new jobs.”