Company Executives applaud Charest to push for deeper relations with Europe

    TORONTO, Jan. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Company executives from the Canada Europe
Roundtable for Business (CERT) strongly support Quebec Premier Jean Charest's
call for a wide-ranging trade and investment agreement, made today at the
World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
    CERT has long-advocated that Canada and the EU negotiate a wide-ranging
trade and investment agreement. With a market of over 450 million consumers,
the EU is Canada's second most important trading partner and source of
investment. Since 1995, Inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the EU to
Canada has tripled to over $105 billion. Canadian FDI in the EU grew even
faster: from $34 billion in 1995 to $110 billion last year. In Britain, Canada
is the second largest source of foreign investment in London, trailing only
the US.
    "Economic relations with Europe have not been recognized as a priority",
outlined CERT Chairman and former Canadian Trade Minister Roy MacLaren.
"Clearly, the trade and investment numbers indicate that the EU should be
recognized as a priority economic partner for Canada. A greater effort must be
made by governments to maximize the potential gains in the relationship. In
this regard, fair and open competition are particularly relevant. We are very
supportive of Premier Charest's leadership on this issue".
    Given the importance of the Canada-Europe transatlantic relationship to
the government of Quebec and Quebec-based companies, Canadian CERT executives
met with M. Charest in November 2006 and recommended to the Premier to partner
with the Federal Government to reinvigorate its efforts with the European
Commission, including exploring new and innovative ways to promote and
encourage Canada-Europe trade and investment, including greater labour

    Launched in Brussels in 1999, CERT is an association of Canadian and
European companies who work to strengthen bilateral commercial ties by
providing a forum for enhanced cooperation between the business communities
and governments of Canada and the EU. Founding members include Alcan, Forest
Products Association of Canada, European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.,
Bombardier and Novartis AG.

For further information:

For further information: Jason Langrish, Executive Director, Canada
Europe Roundtable for Business (CERT), (416) 727-3185,

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