Chrystia Freeland Sees Silver Lining For Canada Amid Rising Global Protectionism

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MONTREAL — International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland sees a silver lining for Canada in 2017 despite an increasingly complex economic situation worldwide.

Freeland says there is enormous opportunity for Canada even amid growing protectionist and nationalist movements in the United States and elsewhere.

She was speaking today to about 300 people at a Montreal Council on Foreign Relations luncheon in Montreal.

chyrstia freeland
International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks to reporters on Parliament Hill on Oct. 27, 2016. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)

Freeland believes Canada is bucking the trend in the face of populist movements seeking easy targets such as immigrants and trade agreements.

And that open and inviting environment, she adds, will translate into unique opportunities ahead.

Freeland said there is strong public and cross-party support in Canada for international trade agreements that places the country in a unique situation compared to other nations.

Trump looms large

The ongoing softwood lumber dispute with the United States and a vow by president-elect Donald Trump to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement loom large on a packed horizon.

But Freeland told the gathering there are also positives, including the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which is expected to be ratified this year.

"At a time when so many other countries are closing their doors, are saying they are not interested in foreign investment, are saying they are not interested in trade, you can come to Canada."

"At a time when so many other countries are closing their doors, are saying they are not interested in foreign investment, are saying they are not interested in trade, you can come to Canada and be assured that we understand and believe in being open to the global economy," she told reporters later.

"And yes, I do think that represents very significant and distinctive opportunities for our country in 2017."

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