By Caribbean News Global
OTTAWA / USA – United States trade representative Katherine Tai met Thursday with Canada’s minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development Mary Ng to discuss ways to strengthen the US-Canadian trade relationship.
“Ambassador Tai and minister Ng emphasized the close economic, trade, and investment relationship between the United States and Canada. They discussed ongoing cooperation under the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) and look forward to a productive meeting of the Free Trade Commission this summer,” the readout said. “ Ambassador Tai and minister Ng reiterated their shared commitment to promoting an inclusive, worker-centred trade agenda, rooted in strong and enforceable labor and environmental standards. They also discussed ways that the United States and Canada can continue to work together to address Russia’s unjustified aggression against Ukraine.”
Further, ambassador Tai stressed the importance of Canada fully meeting its USMCA commitments, including its allocation of dairy tariff-rate quotas and home-shopping. Ambassador Tai expressed concern about Canada’s proposed digital service tax and underused housing tax. The two agreed to continue to collaborate on addressing these and other issues, and to maintain an open line of communication.
Meanwhile, ambassador Tai’s stressed the durability of the bilateral trade relationship and her commitment to working closely with minster Ng to strengthen the competitiveness of the North American economy that “delivers inclusive prosperity for our workers and businesses.”
Ambassador Tai delivered remarks at a press conference Thursday, stating:
“I want to begin by thanking minister Ng for hosting me. We just had a very productive meeting and I am excited about our positive agenda for our countries and the region. Today in Ottawa and tomorrow in Toronto, Minister Ng and I will join a series of roundtable discussions with stakeholders, including one with labor leaders this afternoon, to discuss the future of the US-Canadian trade relationship.
We will tour businesses, meet with entrepreneurs, and determine how our governments can collaborate to advance our shared interests under the framework of the USMCA – from building resilient supply chains to combatting climate change to defending the rights of our workers. The trade relationship between our countries has never been more important. Canada represents the United States’ largest goods export market. Last year, the value of goods we exported to Canada increased by more than 20 percent – one-sixth of all US goods exports go to Canada.
For nearly two years now, since its entry-into-force in July 2020, the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement has been the foundational pillar in our bilateral trade relationship and our work to make our region more economically competitive. Important upgrades in the Agreement are high-standard, enforceable labor and environmental provisions helping us make trade a “race to the top.” By raising regional standards, we can set an example for the world to follow, defend the rights of our workers, and help combat climate change.
Our work does not end once the agreement is signed and delivered. Trade agreements – and trade engagement more broadly – requires constant care and attention.
We have to make sure our agreements and frameworks remain relevant. We have to ensure they can properly address today’s challenges, rather than become outdated relics of a previous era. And we have to use these platforms to resolve our differences.
Minister Ng and I will hold a series of events with key stakeholders. We will visit businesses that benefit from a strong and vibrant US-Canadian trade relationship. We will hear what they need from the government in order to successfully compete abroad. Of course, the strength of this relationship is not solely defined by trade. The United States and Canada are bound by our shared ideals, including our commitment to democratic values, the rights of our workers, and defending ourselves against autocracies that undermine the rules-based multilateral trading system and respect of international law.
This is especially true as our countries have worked closely together to punish and denounce president Putin for his premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war in Ukraine.
I want to conclude by recognizing that May marks Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States and Asian Heritage Month in Canada. The theme for this month in the United States is “Building Legacy Together: Our Communities’ Journey of Strength and Resilience,” while in Canada it is “Continuing a legacy of greatness.”
Throughout this month, our countries will celebrate the history and achievements of our Asian communities, and their resilience and strength in the face of significant challenges. Minister Ng and I stand here as our countries’ respective trade representatives and a proud Canadian and American to celebrate the contributions of our communities to our respective countries.
“It is also an opportunity for us to re-commit to the job of helping the next generation of women Asian trade leaders, so their path to success is a little bit easier. Tomorrow night in Toronto, minister Ng and I will participate in a panel discussion on exactly how we can do this. Promoting female Asian leaders is necessary to make our societies more diverse and equitable.”