By Luiza Ch. Savage - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 0 Comments
The minister of international trade talks with Luiza Ch. Savage
Ed Fast, the minister for international trade, is overseeing the Conservative government’s aggressive trade agenda that is opening new markets to Canadian exporters, and raising questions about everything from drug patents to environmental regulations. As Canada and the U.S. mark the 25th anniversary of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement, Ottawa’s strategic focus is shifting to the high-growth countries of Asia and Latin America, and to a new generation of trade agreements that cover services as well as goods.
Q: When I came into the room, I didn’t realize that it was you playing the grand piano. Do you play often?
A: I don’t play as much as I used to because of my schedule. Music has been a part of my life since I was a toddler. There were eight kids in my family and my mother made sure we each played at least two instruments. I play piano, violin and guitar, but piano is the instrument I love. I learned to play it from age 6, and when I became a teenager I learned to improvise. It’s something that’s really freeing. It’s a great stress reliever.
Q: This week marks the 25th anniversary of free trade with the U.S., but you’ve been travelling everywhere from Brazil to Burma. Are our trade patterns shifting? What does the future look like 10 years from now?
By Jesse Brown - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 10:50 AM - 0 Comments
Yesterday, Heritage Minister James Moore announced that Canada has formally joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a group that is discussing a major trade agreement among us and Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S., and Vietnam. The deal is at the negotiation stage now, but all countries at the table are expected to sign in late 2013.
Much of the chatter around TPP has focused on the impact it may have on Canada’s protected dairy and poultry industries. Beyond milk and chickens, TPP has other big implications. Among them are potentially disastrous new rules for the enforcement of intellectual property on the Internet.
By John Geddes - Monday, June 18, 2012 at 1:45 PM - 0 Comments
It can’t be a good moment for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to have the U.S. welcoming Mexico into the free trade talks called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, given that the Canadian government has been pleading for a seat at that particular negotiating table.
News that Mexico, but not necessarily Canada, would be admitted to the TPP process during the G20 summit on Mexican soil at Los Cabos this week was broken last week by a specialized Washington online trade newsletter. Asked about that report last week, International Trade Minister Ed Fast’s press secretary, Rudy Husny, declined to “comment on speculation.”
By From the editors - Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 11:43 AM - 0 Comments
This government has been very aggressive about announcing free trade deals–not so much about closing them
Listen to his critics and you’d think a blinding “neo-conservative ideology” is what motivates Prime Minister Stephen Harper these days. Yet in sifting through his six years in power it’s much easier to find evidence of opportunistic pragmatism than any specific ideology.
Regardless of this week’s budget, the Harper government has already proven itself to be the biggest spending government in Canadian history. And while it talks a lot about taxes, Ottawa is actually creating a more complicated and less efficient tax system through its creation of myriad tax credits aimed at tiny slices of the population for such things as children’s dance lessons, team sports, work tools or public transit.
The federal government has also been quick to remove the right to strike from unionized workers—the widespread animosity of the current Air Canada labour dispute is directly attributable to this instinct for control over letting negotiations take their course. It has, as well, interposed itself into deals between interested buyers and sellers, such as with the Potash Corp. decision. None of this is the stuff of standard economics textbooks.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM - 30 Comments
The Prime Minister said Canada can “easily meet” the broad strokes of the agreement unveiled Saturday by Mr. Obama, even if it means throwing into the mix a supply management system that forces Canadians to pay higher prices for products like milk, cheese, chicken and eggs…
“We will make an application and I am optimistic we will participate in the future,” he added. “Whenever we enter negotiations, as we’ve done in the past with other countries, as we’re doing right now with Europe, we always say that all matters are on the table. But of course Canada will seek to defend and promote our specific interests in every single sector of the economy.”