International cooperation on rules-based trade is key to supporting a strong, sustainable, and inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, participated in the third G7 Trade and Investment Ministers’ Meeting, hosted in London, United Kingdom, by Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for International Trade.
Minister Ng discussed G7 collaboration to deliver concrete outcomes at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) and make progress on WTO reform after MC12 and underlined the important work of the Ottawa Group. She reiterated that Canada is committed to working with WTO members to conclude the negotiations on fisheries subsidies by MC12 and underlined the importance of multilateral cooperation to improve the international trade system’s ability to respond to public health emergencies. This includes leveraging the WTO declaration on trade and health, which is now supported by more than 50 WTO members, and working together to ensure it is a priority at MC12. Minister Ng also encouraged the G7 to commit to making progress at the WTO in addressing emerging issues, such as trade and gender, trade and environment, and digital trade.
On the theme of trade and the environment, Minister Ng emphasized Canada’s commitment to combatting climate change and fostering clean growth in a way that is transparent and predictable for businesses and supports open and rules-based trade. She encouraged members to support current WTO initiatives, such as the Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions, to ensure the global trading system supports the G7 members’ action to address climate change.
At a session on free and fair trade with a focus on forced labour, Minister Ng emphasized that Canada welcomes further collaboration with G7 members to improve transparency in global supply chains and to ensure trade and supply chains are free of goods produced by forced labour.
Minister Ng also participated in discussions regarding actions G7 members can take to address market-distorting practices, such as industrial subsidies. She encouraged countries to increase transparency on industry support measures and undertake further research on the impacts of subsidies.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Minister Ng met with Secretary of State Trevelyan; Peter Altmaier, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy; and Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
In her meeting with Secretary of State Trevelyan, Minister Ng discussed how Canada and the United Kingdom have a special connection and enjoy a robust trade and investment relationship. They discussed ongoing collaboration on WTO reform and working together on the road to MC12. Minister Ng expressed her appreciation of the United Kingdom’s support of an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her meeting with Minister Altmaier, Minister Ng expressed her appreciation for the important contributions made by Germany and the European Union to Canada’s efforts to secure COVID-19 vaccines. She also expressed her support for continued collaboration on keeping vital health and medical supply chains open and resilient. Minister Ng reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to working with Germany, as host of the upcoming G7 presidency, to continue the trade and investment track and on ensuring that the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) achieves its full potential to create opportunities for businesses and workers in Canada and the EU.
In her meeting with Minister Di Maio, Minister Ng highlighted Canada and Italy’s strong trade and investment relations. She noted that following implementation of CETA, Italy has become Canada’s second-largest merchandise trading partner in the EU and that she looks forward to securing the benefits of the agreement for people and businesses with full ratification. She also emphasized the need to ensure continued access for essential goods, such as wheat.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Canada and its G7 partners endorsed the G7 Trade and Investment Ministers’ Communiqué, the Statement on Forced Labour, and the G7 Digital Trade Principles, which reinforced the members’ joint commitment to advancing important trade priorities, including the eradication of forced labour in global supply chains, and supporting digital trade as a tool for economic growth and recovery.