Vancouver, British Columbia – June 10, 2008 . Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers responsible for Internal Trade met today in Vancouver. The meeting was chaired by the Honourable Colin Hansen, British Columbia Minister of Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Asia-Pacific Initiative and the Olympics. Established under the Agreement on Internal Trade (1994), the Committee on Internal Trade ( CIT) meets annually to review progress on reducing or eliminating barriers to trade, investment and labour mobility across Canada.
In welcoming Ministers at today’s meeting, Minister Colin Hansen emphasized the direction given by Premiers to resolve the outstanding issues and move the agenda forward to strengthen the AIT.
Ministers heard presentations on implementation of the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement between Alberta and British Columbia, as well as on negotiations between Ontario and Quebec on an economic partnership agreement.
The Committee endorsed a report from the Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM) to proceed with consultations with external stakeholders, and to hold a CIT meeting by the end of the year to sign off on proposed amendments to the Labour Mobility Chapter of the AIT. This is to achieve full labour mobility compliance with the AIT.
Ministers reached consensus on a dispute resolution enforcement mechanism, thereby completing negotiations, and agreed to hold a CIT meeting by the end of the year to sign off on proposed amendments to the Dispute Resolution Chapter of the AIT. Ministers agreed on monetary penalty tiers which will reflect the diversity of size of populations, and on the amount of time that must pass before a measure can be re-challenged. They also agreed to establish a mechanism to deal with outstanding disputes under the AIT.
With respect to negotiations on an energy chapter, Ministers agreed that a report will be forwarded to Premiers advising that officials will continue to work on this in the months ahead.
Ministers endorsed the action plan on regulatory reform in the transportation sector submitted by Ministers of Transport and Highway Safety and requested a status report by the end of 2008.
Ministers look forward to the final draft of a revised Agriculture Chapter, expected early this fall.
Ministers approved the Eighth Protocol of Amendment to the AIT which strengthens complaint procedures applicable to provinces under Chapter Five on procurement and which will enter into force when all Parties’ signatures are received.
Ministers also agreed to commence negotiations on accession to the AIT by Nunavut without further delay.
The Committee is due to have its next annual meeting June 2009 under the chairmanship of Yukon.
Guy Gensey, B.C. Internal Trade Representative (250) 415 2132
Anna Maria Magnifico, Executive Director, Internal Trade Secretariat (204) 987-8094