Panel Discussion on Opportunities for Canadian and Swedish Businesses Under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) (Stockholm, Sweden)
Stockholm, Sweden, Tuesday, February 21, 2017
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Thank you for inviting me to speak with you today.
With me are members of the Canadian delegation—including our minister of science, Kirsty Duncan—who embody the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that our countries share. They’re an impressive group, representing the breadth of Canadian expertise.
Even after I leave here today, they will stay to continue the dialogue that we hope will be productive in expanding our trade and investment relationship.
A window of opportunity is opening between Canada and Sweden.
Canada has been actively pursuing trade that responds not only to economic needs, but also to social and environmental priorities as well. And the recent milestone achieved through the vote to support the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement in the European Parliament (CETA) is another step in the right direction.
I know that here in Sweden, you are also improving trade with the “Global Deal” initiative. Your focus on developing a platform to highlight co-operation between partners, be they government or business, will contribute greatly to a stronger and more open society.
Canada is eager to engage in such a proposal to increase our communication and the opportunities presented by free and progressive trade.
With that in mind, there has been much discussion on how to strengthen international norms and standards on issues of mutual interest.
On the protection of our ecosystems and environment.
On labour rights and gender equality.
On transparency and communication.
On sustainable development.
We’re working together on these and pursuing an agenda of more trade, more investment and more co-operation.
We live in a turbulent, changing world. And so it is more important than ever that we reinforce ties and partnerships with like-minded friends around the world.
Canada and Sweden have an opportunity to demonstrate to the region and to the world how a modern, progressive, trans-Atlantic partnership can work to serve its people, the economy and the environment. It can be a defining moment for both nations, one that benefits our citizens and one that can inspire other nations to allow this type of trade relationship to flourish.
As you know, our countries already have a solid base to work from.
Let me highlight some of our ties:
- Bilateral merchandise trade stands at more than $2 billion annually, with Canada’s exports to Sweden growing 20 per cent in 2015.
- Two-way investment total over $5 billion and is responsible for about 19 000 jobs in Canada and about 13 000 jobs in Sweden
- Examples of investment include Swedish businesses Ericsson, Volvo and Sandvik and Canadian companies Bombardier, CGI and OpenText.
- Our countries have significant trade in services and are increasing our two-way investment.
- We are both diverse and geographically complicated nations, with thriving coastal and Arctic regions.
- We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Science and Technology, which underlines our desire for increased research and development involving the private sector and other sources, more industry and university partnerships, and a potential for multilateral projects.
- And recent developments in trade will provide new opportunities to expand Canada and Sweden’s trade and economic relationship.
As you can see, we’re having a real impact on each other’s economies.
And yet, there’s potential to do so much more.
So, with all this, where do we go from here?
I think the answer is simple: we go further.
Let me rephrase: we must go further.
By that I mean we have to look at our relationship and reflect on what’s working well and where we can do better, and move towards an even broader, more vigorous engagement.
Canada and Sweden have a robust trading relationship, with each other and with others around the world. This point in our historic relationship allows us to take that partnership to the next level.
We will do so by capitalizing not only on our shared values, but also on our strong people-to-people ties.
More than 30 000 Canadians of Swedish origin are contributing to Canada’s well-being.
This type of diversity in our country fosters social harmony and makes our country more outward-looking and global.
Of course, having ambassadors for Sweden in Canada can only help in bringing our countries closer together!
Speaking of ambassadors, I was delighted to learn of our Youth Mobility Agreement with Sweden that makes it easier for young Swedes to study in Canada and for Canadians to study here. The best ambassadors, after all, are created through understanding and first-hand experience.
Fundamentally, Canada’s approach to all aspects of society—whether education or innovation or trade—is an inclusive one. It’s not perfect, of course, and we struggle to reconcile our differences like any other society. But most Canadians are remarkably open and willing to work across borders, cultures and disciplines, and that includes when looking across the ocean.
I very much look forward to seeing Canada and Sweden be more open with each other, pursuing new opportunities and achieving more success by working together.
Let this be the start of an even richer and more dynamic phase in the trade relationship between our countries.