Oct. 18, 2013

CANADA – EU FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

  • Canada is the first G8 country to have free trade access to the EU (500 million people) and the US (317 million people).
  • The free trade talks were launched in May 2009 and signed today. The agreement is expected to increase trade in goods and services by 20% to €25.7 billion.
  • The agreement needs to be ratified by the Canadian provinces, the EU governments and the European Parliament and is planned to come into effect by 2015.
  • Canada will eliminate tariffs on almost all goods and services, set larger quotas for EU dairy exports and make it easier for EU carmakers to export vehicles to Canada.
  • The EU will eliminate duties on a range of Canadian agricultural products, from wheat to maple syrup. Canada will be able to export 80,000 tons of pork and 50,000 tons of beef, free of duties to the EU.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FEDERAL THRONE SPEECH

  • Balance the federal budget by 2015.
  • Reduce the cost of the federal government, so taxes remain low.
  • Complete reforms to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program to ensure that Canadians always have the first chance at available jobs.
  • Address the cellular roaming costs within Canada and give Canadians the opportunity to choose their combination of television channels.
  • Support victims of crime by introducing the Victim’s Bill of Rights and address cyberbullying.

ALBERTA / BC ENERGY REPORT

  • The province of Alberta and BC are expected to have a draft report by December 15, 2013 focusing on 5 key areas:
    1. Harmonizing marine and land-based spill response and preparedness.
    2. Ensuring fair fiscal and economic benefits to both provinces.
    3. Consulting with First Nations to identify potential benefit-sharing models.
    4. Exploring resource transportation options, including the costs and benefits of both pipeline and rail transportation.
    5. Increasing public awareness of responsible resource development by identifying key areas and developing a strategy to support community engagement.

TIDBITS

  • The US Chamber of Commerce is stepping up their campaign to ‘elect people who understand the free market and not silliness (the Tea Party)’.
  • US minimum wage earners at McDonald’s and Wendy’s etc. receive about $7 billion in US government aid to make ends meet, according to a joint study from the University of California and the University of Illinois.
  • If the Federal government will not enhance the Canada Pension Plan, the Ontario government is threatening to offer its own additional mandatory government pension plan.
  • China’s Q3 GDP rose 7.8%, as forecast up from Q2 7.5% and Q1 7.1%.