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CME Meets with Minister Chystia Freeland in Winnipeg

Published by CME Manitoba on April 13, 2018

Recently, The Honourable Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to Winnipeg’s business community at a Chamber of Commerce event on Leadership in the 21st Century. Following the event, select business leaders and guests, including CME’s Ron Koslowsky, joined Minister Freeland and Minister Jim Carr for a round table discussion on NAFTA and Canada’s position as we prepare to enter another round of negotiations. Manufacturing matters in Manitoba and CME’s presence in the discussion and in subsequent one-on-one meetings with the Ministers reflects not only our work at the national level, but also the credibility and authority of our association as the voice of manufacturing provincially, and locally. 

While media are reporting a great deal of progress on NAFTA and that a deal is close, major issues remain to be addressed by US delegates before negotiation can begin in earnest. CME continues to advocate on behalf of Canadian manufacturers – through our membership as well as via the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition – and will continue to hold briefing calls and update members as the negotiations proceed. But members can also play a part provincially. A united front on issues of inter-provincial trade is critical to securing Canada’s position in negotiations. Recent challenges in BC and Alberta with respect the oil pipeline illustrate how we cannot afford to throw up barriers between provinces, especially at such a time when arguing for free and open trade with other countries has never been more critical. These very real issues are damaging not only to regional economies but to the Canadian economy as a whole. Wherever possible, members are asked to please ensure you communicate your concerns and opposition to internal trade barriers to CME provincially and nationally, as well as directly to your Member of Parliament.

While NAFTA negotiations continue to move forward, manufacturers continue to suffer from an investment chill created by market uncertainty and compounded by the perceived competitive disadvantage that Canadian businesses face when compared to their global counterparts. NAFTA is an important part of the equation, to be sure, but manufacturers are more and more facing a regulatory and tax environment at home that given recent changes in the United States in these areas, is less competitive. When manufacturers step into the global arena, much of their success has already been determined by the Canadian business environment. Working together, government and industry must create a comprehensive plan that starts with a review and modernization of our environment to create better supports for Canadian companies looking to compete globally.

Trade continues to be critical to our economic well-being. For support on trade and competitiveness, connect with CME today.

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