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Asia-Pacific: B.C. Bets on Small Product-Specific Trade Deals

Posted April 01, 2015

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(Chuck Chiang – Vancouver Sun)

When it comes to opening foreign markets to Canadian goods and services, the focus is often put on comprehensive free-trade agreements, or FTAs. But B.C.’s top international trade official says there is another way that can pay quicker dividends.

International Trade Minister Teresa Wat said her office will promote product-specific trade agreements as an alternative in its discussions with federal authorities. The idea, Wat said last week, is to open up parts of valuable markets that are not covered by existing free-trade deals with Canada.

Wat said the lengthy time it takes to reach an FTA as a significant challenge for Canadians trying to sell into some markets in China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia. She noted that, if officials negotiated on specific products, perhaps a certain type of fruit, negotiations would be more focused and less time-consuming — with the potential of yielding significant economic benefits. Click here to read more.