OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada – Ed Fast, Canada’s Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, introduced the Canada-Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act and the Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity Act in hopes of implementing free-trade agreements with Jordan and Panama. Fast was joined by Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), and key industry representatives, as well as by Basheer Fawwaz Zoubi, Jordan’s Ambassador to Canada, and Francisco Carlo Escobar Pedreschi, Panama’s Ambassador to Canada.

Upon implementation, the Canada-Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act will eliminate tariffs on most Canadian exports to Jordan, directly benefiting Canadian exporters and workers. Key sectors in Canada that will benefit from this immediate duty-free access to the Jordanian market include forestry and manufacturing, as well as agricultural products and agri-foods such as pulses, frozen potato products and beef. Implementing the Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity Act will eliminate tariffs on over 99 percent of Canadian non-agriculture exports.

“The implementation of these two agreements will improve access to two growth markets for Canadian goods, services and investment at a time when Canadian manufacturers and exporters are focusing on finding new customers and business opportunities around the world,” said Jayson Myers, president and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. “We urge Parliament to pass this legislation quickly. This is especially critical in a context where our main trading partner, the United States, implemented its trade agreement with Jordan last year and ratified its agreement with Panama last month.”

Free-trade agreements with Jordan and Panama were signed in June 2009 and May 2010, respectively. Once passed by the House of Commons and the Senate, both pieces of legislation must receive Royal Assent from the Governor General in order to become law.

In less than six years, Canada’s government has concluded free-trade agreements with nine countries – Colombia, Honduras, Jordan, Panama, Peru and the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.