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Government on European Free Trade Progress

The Canadian Airports Council today commended the federal government for reaching a new trade deal...


September 20, 2007
By Carey Fredericks

OTTAWA, June 8 /CNW Telbec/ – The Canadian Airports Council today commended the federal government for reaching a new trade deal with the European Free Trade Association countries of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, welcoming the government's renewed multilateral approach to trade talks that also includes upcoming air service talks with the EU.

"In a highly integrated world economy, Canada's progress on free trade agreements, including important liberalization in air service agreements, means good news for Canada through increased trade of goods and tourists," said CAC President and CEO Jim Facette. "Over the coming months, Canada's airports look forward to continued multilateral trade liberalization, including more Open Skies deals such as the one being pursued with the EU." The new trade agreement with EFTA and news of upcoming free trade talks with Colombia, Peru and the Dominican Republic were part of a speech delivered by International Trade Minister David Emerson today, in which he also highlighted the importance of air service agreements. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced from Europe that air liberalization talks with the EU will begin this fall.

The EU is Canada's second biggest trading partner after the U.S., with some $70.1 billion in imports/exports. Traffic between Canada and the EU has doubled between 2000 and 2005 and the EU is Canada's second largest source of tourists. More than half of Canada's overseas tourists hail from Europe. "An important partner for both trade and tourism, Europe is a great example of how trade and air policy truly are linked with important potential benefits to be realized for both the passenger and cargo air sectors through
trade and air service liberalization" said Mr. Facette. "Canada's airports support the government's continued liberalization of our air regimes with other countries – either in tandem with overall trade liberalization talks or as stand-alone initiatives."

In addition to the EU, the CAC has encouraged the federal government to include a multi-lateral air service approach to other regions of the world, such as Latin America.