New trade agreement a better deal for Albertans, government says

by Morinville News Staff

The province says the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), signed Friday by federal, provincial and territorial trade ministers, will give Alberta businesses, investors, and workers increased access to Canada-wide markets, including government tenders in other provinces and territorities.

CFTA brings other Canadian jurisdictions in line with what the province says are Alberta standards, levelling the playing field for Alberta businesses.

“The CFTA is a good deal for Alberta, and we look forward to its implementation,” said Premier Rachel Notley. “By creating a more open and stable domestic marketplace, we are improving opportunities for Alberta businesses, allowing them to innovate, grow and create jobs.”

The province believes the CFTA provides clear trade rules and resolution processes the province believes will make it easier for Alberta businesses to access opportunities across the country, partly due to plans for a single-access web portal for all provincial, territorial and federal government tenders.

One change in the new agreement is called the negative list approach. Under AIT, provinces and territories had to list all the goods and services they allowed to be traded. Under CFTA, provinces will only list items excluded from the deal.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business applauded Friday’s signing as a “new era of open trade among provinces” and a “major step towards resolving often conflicting rules and regulations across provinces.”

“Delivering a modern, ambitious trade deal is a gift to the country as it celebrates its 150th Birthday,” said CFIB Executive Vice-President Laura Jones. “CFTA delivers on many of the things we have been seeking for years. Eighty-seven percent of CFIB members wanted the Premiers to commit to reducing trade barriers within Canada. There is more to do to eliminate some silly, irritating rules but the deal creates an innovative framework that we haven’t had before to get outstanding red tape issues resolved.”

CFIB will be giving government a special golden scissors award for the red tape cutting they believe CFTA achieves.

The CFTA comes into effect July 1, replacing the existing Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) in place since 1995.

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