A new Canada Free Trade Agreement revealed in Toronto Friday aims at lowering trade barriers between provinces.
Executive vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business Laura Jones told the Alberta Morning News Saturday, the new deal is a lot better than the old one as it has stronger provisions for enforcement, and opens up procurement in a big way.
She said the most important thing it does, is create a place to go for those regulatory irritants between provinces
“For a long time these irritants have been raised, and raised again and we haven’t really had a place to take them. Now we have a regulatory cooperation and conciliation table, and I’m very hopeful that it’s going to be an effective place to take those irritants.”
The new agreement is a lot more transparent.
“It’s very clear now where the barriers are because the exemptions all have to be listed very clearly. So I’ve been using this analogy that I think it’s like the 80 yard pass down the field. It’s worth celebrating, you didn’t get all where you wanted to go, but the goal is definitely in sight.”
Jones also described how the new agreement is taking a different approach called the negative lift approach.
“So if you have a barrier, you have to lift that barrier, and that will be important in ferreting out where we need to improve.”
However the agreement, like its predecessor, doesn’t cover the sale of alcohol.
Alcohol is one of the most difficult products to deal with because each province has its own set of rules.
“That’s going to take some time, however what’s encouraging is that the ministers have agreed to come back within a year, and the reconciliation table is going to be taking on that issue of alcohol, and looking for ways to move forward on that.”
Every province, territory and the federal government have signed off on the new trade agreement.
It will come into effect in July.