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Canada-Brazil CEO forum to consider trade agreement with Mercosur

MercoPress, Uruguay

Canada-Brazil CEO forum to consider trade agreement with Mercosur

9 August 2011

In a show of the importance the Canadian government places on relations with Brazil and Mercosur the delegation includes four cabinet ministers and a cadre of business leaders. Canada has reiterated its interest in reaching a trade agreement with Brazil and Mercosur, which will be one of the main points of the recently created Brazil-Canada CEO forum.

Brazil is the first stop on Harper’s six-day tour of South and Central American countries intended to improve trade relations in turbulent economic times.

The agreements signed Monday will enhance Canada’s competitiveness and translate into other benefits for Canadian businesses and consumers, Harper said in a release announcing the agreements.

“Brazil is a major global economic player and a key priority market for Canada,” said Harper. “These agreements will benefit both countries by promoting greater two-way flow of people, goods and services, enhancing our competitiveness and further strengthening our partnership in key areas of shared interest.”

A new Brazil-Canada CEO forum was also launched by PM Harper and President Rousseff as a result of the bilateral visit. It’s meant to be a mechanism for the private sector to be involved in boosting trade and investment between the two countries and to serve as a forum for policy discussions on commercial relations. Six CEOs from each country will be invited to participate.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed that will see Canada share its Olympic-hosting experience and expertise with Brazil. The Summer Games are in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and the memorandum is aimed at the two countries talking about how to host a successful event and the environmental, social and legal considerations that are part of the planning.

Harper and Rousseff also pledged greater dialogue on delivering aid in Latin America, and to establish the Canada-Brazil Strategic Partnership Dialogue. The new agreement will have each country’s foreign affairs ministers meet annually to discuss regional and global issues.

An estimated 400 Canadian companies operate in Brazil, Canada’s 10th-largest trading partner. Exports of Canadian merchandise to Brazil totaled 2.6 billion dollars in 2010, up 60%from the year before, and imports were 3.3 billion.

The Conservative government has sought bilateral free-trade deals with a number of countries, placing a special emphasis on the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2002, Canada signed a free-trade agreement with Costa Rica, where Harper will stop on Thursday.

Three years ago, Canada inked a free-trade agreement with Colombia, where Harper visits Wednesday. That deal comes into force next week.