OTTAWA, Aug. 31, 2017 /CNW/ - Strong environmental standards make Canada more competitive globally, and they will give North America a competitive advantage in the clean-growth economy. A modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has the potential to produce an overwhelmingly positive effect on the Canadian economy, Canada's middle class, and those working hard to join it, and it presents an opportunity to strengthen environmental protections for generations to come.
Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced the creation of the NAFTA Advisory Council on the Environment. The ten-member council brings together prominent Canadians from politics, law, and Indigenous groups. This expert council includes former Quebec premier, Pierre-Marc Johnson; former British Columbia premier, Gordon Campbell; former Saskatchewan cabinet minister, Janice MacKinnon; and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President, Natan Obed. The council will advise the Minister as Canada looks to strengthen environmental protections in a modernized NAFTA.
Canada has long recognized that free and open trade and the protection of the environment go together. When NAFTA came into effect in 1994, it was the first free-trade agreement to link the environment and trade through a historic side chapter on environmental cooperation between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. In the more-than-three decades since, the close cooperation between these countries has led to positive environmental action across North America while their economies have grown and have become more integrated. During these decades, the world has come to recognize that protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and supporting economic growth go hand in hand.
Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans understand that clean air, clean water, and healthy biodiversity are critical and that they are without borders. That is why it is important that we take this opportunity to modernize NAFTA and integrate strong environmental provisions into the agreement.
The market for clean-energy innovation is valued in the trillions of dollars. As the global economy moves towards cleaner growth, a strong North American trading block with robust environmental protections will attract investment, create jobs, and grow our economies.
"Canadians understand that the economy and the environment go hand in hand. Clean air and clean water know no boundaries, and they are top priorities for Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans. Modernizing NAFTA to strengthen environmental protections will make us more competitive, not less. The leaders on Canada's NAFTA Advisory Council on the Environment will advise our government on how to protect the environment, grow our economy, and promote Canadian interests."
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- U.S. trade with Canada is balanced, fair, and mutually beneficial.
- An estimated 9 million good, middle-class American jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada.
- We are the number one customer for the majority of American states.
- Most Canadian clean-technology firms export, and a large portion of their revenues ($4.4 billion) comes from exports to the U.S. and Mexico. Canada is also a key market for U.S. clean-technology exports.
SOURCE Environment and Climate Change Canada
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