A new trade deal that aims to facilitate internal trade within Canada has been finalized by ministers representing the country's federal, provincial and territorial governments.
The Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) has been in the works since December 2014 and aims to reduce barriers to trade, investment and worker mobility when it comes into effect at the beginning of July.
It establishes free trade rules that will apply automatically across the Canadian economy, with the exception of certain specific exclusions. The central government expects that removing interprovincial trade barriers could add up to 0.2 percentage points to Canada's potential output annually.
Currently, internal trade represents about one-fifth of Canada's annual GDP, or C$385 billion (€272.09 billion). It also accounts for almost 40 per cent of provincial and territorial exports, meaning it is a key driver of economic growth and job creation.
CFTA will lead to more open trade in goods and services, create greater consistency in regulations and standards, and offer provisions to increase access to billions of dollars in government procurement opportunities for Canadian businesses, while also liberalizing domestic trade in areas such as alcoholic beverages and financial services.
Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development for Canada, said: "The Canadian Free Trade Agreement will bring real benefits to Canadians. Companies will find it easier and less costly to sell their goods and services across the country, which means Canadians can expect more choice and pay less for what they buy.
"More open markets and less red tape mean Canadian businesses can grow and compete globally. And as these companies grow, they will create more middle-class jobs for Canadians."
This comes after the government recently signed off on a new trade deal, called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, with the EU. It is expected to deliver comparable economic benefits to CFTA.