MONTREAL, April 27, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Citing the expected benefits a free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union would bring to the Port of Montreal - and indeed to all Canadians - Sylvie Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Montreal Port Authority, gave her support to negotiations toward such an historic agreement. Ms. Vachon was responding to an announcement today at the Port of Montreal by the Honorable Pierre Claude Nolin, Senator, in which he outlined the benefits in job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity that would follow such an agreement. Negotiations between Canada and the EU are ongoing.
"The lowering of often high tariffs would unleash new export opportunities for Quebec agricultural and forestry products, as well as for our commodities, seafood and other products," said Ms. Vachon. "In return, we would have improved access to manufactured goods from Europe. As Canada's primary gateway to and from Europe, the Port of Montreal and the maritime community would enjoy significantly more maritime traffic as a result of this ambitious agreement."
Fully two-thirds of Canada's international trade flows through the Quebec-Ontario corridor, in which Port of Montreal plays a strategic role as the only container port along the entire route. European markets already represent 41 percent of the Port's traffic, with containers accounting for 70 percent of that number. The signing of a free-trade agreement with the EU would mean greater traffic for the port, including significantly greater container traffic. Container traffic has been shown to generate the most jobs for the economy as a whole, at a rate of one job per additional 100 containers.
A study between Canada and the European Union indicates the agreement would boost Canada's income by $12 billion annually and bilateral trade by 20 percent. This is equivalent to creating 80,000 new jobs. The EU is already Canada's second-largest trading partner and the world's largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers. Ongoing negotiations with the EU represent Canada's most ambitious trade initiative ever, significantly greater than the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
About the Port of Montreal
Operated by the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), the Port of Montreal is a major diversified transshipment centre that handles all types of goods - containerized and non-containerized cargo, liquid bulk and dry bulk.
A leading container port on the Atlantic, it is served by the largest container shipping lines in the world. Strategically located in North America's heartland, it provides first class access to the markets of Quebec, Ontario and the U.S. Northeast and Midwest.
The Port of Montreal handled 1,362,975 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in 2011, representing 12,471,002 tonnes of cargo.
The Port also handled 10,760,649 tonnes of liquid bulk products, 3,431,811 tonnes of dry bulk products and 1,741,035 tonnes of grain in 2011.
The MPA operates its own rail network directly on the piers. It is connected to both national railway networks and a highway network.
The MPA also operates a passenger terminal that welcomed 38,031 passengers and crew members in 2011. All the other terminals are managed by private stevedoring companies.
Port activity supports 18,200 jobs and generates $1.5 billion in economic spin-offs per year.
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