The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) welcomes the announcement earlier today that Canada and the European Union (EU) have concluded an agreement-in-principle on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
“As Prime Minister Harper has underlined, this is a historic win for Canada,” said PAFSO President, Mr. Tim Edwards. “Canada’s diplomats are enormously pleased to have contributed to the successful conclusion of our country’s most ambitious free-trade agreement since NAFTA.”
Working closely with other professionals in the public service, Foreign Service Officers helped lay the groundwork for negotiations, consulted with provincial and private-sector partners, drove the talks forward, and were instrumental in working out the final trade-offs on both sides which made today’s announcement possible. The CETA will eliminate barriers – including tariffs and local regulations – which have limited the ability of Canadian exporters to compete on a level playing field with European companies in the massive $17 trillion EU market.
“This agreement is a landmark achievement in Canada’s history as a trading nation,” continued Mr. Edwards. “The Foreign Service is fiercely proud to have been part of the top-notch public service team which delivered on this major economic priority for our Government.”
PAFSO’s membership encompasses approximately 450 trade commissioners working in Ottawa, in five regional offices across Canada, and in more than 170 missions abroad. These officers assist Canadian exporters and investors succeed in international markets. This includes identifying market opportunities, improving market access for Canadian products and services, troubleshooting problems on the ground, and negotiating trade and investment agreements.
“Through their intimate knowledge of local market conditions, their broad networks of contacts, and real-time intelligence, Canada’s Foreign Service provides the support which Canadian exporters need to navigate complex foreign markets,” added Mr. Edwards. “Canada’s frontline abroad is armed with a talent and expertise – honed through years of overseas experience and training – will continue to ensure that Canadian companies remain among the most competitive in the global marketplace.”