OTTAWA, Canada, May 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today participated in Africa Day celebrations in Ottawa and invited Canadian business representatives, especially from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to expand, to join a trade mission to South Africa and Tanzania from June 22 to 27, 2014.
Minister Fast also announced the entry into force of a foreign investment protection agreement (FIPA) with Benin this month. By ensuring greater protection against discriminatory and arbitrary practices and by enhancing the predictability of a market’s policy framework, a FIPA provides businesses with greater confidence in investing and facilitates investment flows, contributing to job creation and economic growth in both countries.
The trade mission will focus on the extractive sector and renewable energy and power, priority sectors identified under the Global Markets Action Plan. Sector-focused trade missions are part of the Government of Canada’s pro-trade plan to support Canadian businesses, especially SMEs, explore opportunities and penetrate new markets for their products and services.
The Canada-Benin agreement is Canada’s third FIPA brought into force in Africa, after Egypt and Tanzania, and brings the total to 27 FIPAs in force around the world.
• This will be Minister Fast’s third trade mission to Africa, following one to Libya in 2012 and another to Nigeria and Ghana in 2013.
• The International Monetary Fund expects the sub-Saharan African economy to grow by 5.4 percent in 2014 and by 5.5 percent in 2015.
• Canada concluded, signed or brought into force FIPAs with 10 countries in 2013—a record for a single year. Seven of these were with African countries: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Zambia, Benin and Tanzania.
• FIPA negotiations are ongoing with Burkina Faso, Tunisia and Ghana and were recently launched with Kenya.
“African countries offer tremendous opportunities and are markets with much potential for Canadian workers and businesses. Today’s FIPA with Benin and the sector-focused trade mission to Tanzania and South Africa, along with the help from our trade commissioners and close cooperation with Export Development Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, are the many ways we are supporting Canadian companies, especially our SMEs, as they explore new opportunities to export, grow and create jobs.”
Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade
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