Nova Scotia welcomes the opportunities the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) offers the province’s businesses and residents through freer internal trade, greater labour mobility and more open procurement.
“The CFTA introduces rules that will make it easier and less costly for Nova Scotia businesses to sell their goods and services across Canada,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “As a leader in promoting a progressive regulatory environment for business with our Atlantic counterparts, we have much to gain from the CFTA’s focus on reducing regulatory barriers.”
The CFTA is expected to enter into force July 1. It also establishes a new framework to intensify interprovincial trade in the future in areas like alcohol and financial services.
Nationally, internal trade is worth $400 billion and represents roughly 20 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). About half of Nova Scotia’s trade in goods and services is interprovincial.
A recent Atlantic Provinces Economic Council report indicated that the long-term gains in Atlantic Canada’s GDP from removing trade barriers among all 10 Canadian provinces could be as high as 7.6 per cent of GDP or $8.5 billion.
“The CFTA’s new open procurement policies, covering new sectors that were formerly closed, will provide Nova Scotia’s small and medium-sized businesses with more opportunities to bid on public contracts across Canada,” said Trade Minister Michel Samson. “Companies operating in regulated professions, such as engineers and architects, will be able to compete more easily for government contracts.”
There will be more open procurement rules in the energy sector, resulting in more than $4.7 billion worth of procurement being opened to broader competition.
The CFTA also includes a Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table that will work with stakeholders to identify and address regulatory differences that act as barriers to trade. The Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness has achieved a number of harmonization initiatives within the Atlantic Region in areas such as transportation, workers’ compensation, and occupational health and safety. This new national reconciliation process provides an opportunity to expand this regional work.
“Small businesses asked Canada’s premiers to make internal trade a priority,” said Jordi Morgan, vice-president, Atlantic Canada, Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “The federation is pleased that negotiations have concluded on this ambitious agreement and we look forward to working with government partners and businesses in its implementation in Nova Scotia.”
“Increasing access to customers at home and in international markets is critical for the long-term growth of Canada’s manufacturers,” said Michel Raymond, vice-president, Nova Scotia, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. “We applaud the efforts of federal-provincial-territorial ministers of internal trade for levelling the playing field by ensuring alignment with international rules and ensuring that Canadian businesses receive as favourable treatment as foreign businesses.”