Some 40 percent of Canada’s GDP depends on trade. Canada’s federal government seeks to increase trade around the world and has signed free trade agreements with several countries over the past three years.
The largest agreement will be signed with the European Union sometime in 2011. One study predicted this agreement, the largest since the North American Free Trade Agreement, could increase Canada’s real income by close to $50 billion as a result of liberalized trade with the 27 European countries. This will be in addition to the expected double-digit growth in coming years that will be driven by trade with countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Canada is well positioned to support growing international trade. Our Pacific ports are closest to the colossal Asian market. Canada’s Atlantic ports are North America’s closest to Europe, with its combined economies 20 times larger than that of China. The St. Lawrence and Great Lakes ports are essential for two-way trade between Canada and our largest trading partner, the United States.
Port authorities must have funding partners, both private and public, to achieve their federally mandated objectives. Import and export freight movements are crucial components in Canada’s billion-dollar commodity flow. Shippers need predictability and are focused on speed and reliability of freight movement. The freight capacity of our ports and inland intermodal connectors greatly determine whether we maintain our international edge and our quality of life. The Canadian government has recognized this fact and has a robust gateway and trade corridor policy framework to ensure we remain focused on building supply chain capacity. Each region has its own gateway strategy under this framework.
Canadian ports will continue to make investments in port-related infrastructure to serve important supply chains and reap the economic benefits that come with it.