BUSINESS

Canada, Honduras to sign free trade deal two years after concluding talks

11/04/2013 04:59 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
OTTAWA - Canada and Honduras are expected to finally sign a free trade agreement Tuesday after concluding negotiations two years ago.

Trade Minister Ed Fast and his Honduran counterpart Jose Adonis Lavaire are scheduled to announce Tuesday in Ottawa that the relationship between the two countries is about to "reach a new level."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the successful conclusion of the talks while on a visit to the central American country in 2011, but translating the agreement into legal text took longer than expected.

Canada and Honduras have minimal bilateral trade activity at the moment, although government figures show it is growing — up almost 50 per cent since 2007 to $275 million last year. Canadian exports only totalled $38.6 million in 2012.

As well, Montreal-based textile firm Gildan Activewear is a major employer in the country of 8.5 million people.

Ottawa says the deal will benefit Canadian firms and workers in sectors such as agriculture, professional services, value-added food processing and manufacturing, as well resource-based industries.

The government says after the signing, the agreement will be debated in Parliament and the Honduran Congress before coming into force.