3 minute read

Set sights on global markets

Growing up in rural Manitoba, I know firsthand the importance of having the right tools for the job: the essential equipment that farmers rely on to provide for their families, create jobs in their communities and feed the world.

Every day, Canadian farmers go to work depending on quality equipment produced by members of the Agricultural Manufacturers of Canada (AMC). Our world-class agricultural equipment manufacturers span the country providing well-paying jobs for Canadians and keeping our rural economies strong.

As Canada’s Minister of International Trade Diversification, my job is to expand market access, reduce barriers and create a level playing field so that hard-working entrepreneurs have an opportunity to compete and succeed in the fast growing and dynamic global markets.

The nearly 300 members of the AMC produce innovative, high-quality equipment sought by buyers from around the world. Almost 80% of your members are already exporting abroad and are looking to expand market share and enter into new markets.

In 2017, Canadian farm machinery manufacturers exported more than $1.9 billion worth of equipment to 154 countries. As well, Canadian leadership in cutting-edge equipment and technologies helped Canadian farmers

export a record $64 billion worth of agricultural and food products last year—and we have our sights set on $75 billion by 2025. See Figure 1.

We congratulate the members of your organization for this impressive leadership and hard work.

We know there are challenges in exporting to foreign markets, in obtaining financing or when facing tariffs and import taxes. Obstacles like country-of-origin labelling and other non-tariff barriers can make exporting much more difficult, and so can border security issues, red tape and burdensome customs procedures.

A past AMC chair noted last year at a House of Commons committee meeting that a large part of the costs faced by the agricultural equipment manufacturing industry is the registration of patents in each country. The different legal requirements can be expensive to follow.

Our government has listened to you on these important issues and has taken action by embarking on an ambitious trade diversification strategy that will create new opportunities so that manufacturers can continue to sell into established markets and find new ones. Our competitors don’t let up—and we won’t either.

That is why we have embarked on an ambitious plan to make trade deals such as the landmark Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which provides exporters with preferential access to 500 million consumers.

Since then, we have negotiated the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which will provide access and new opportunities to 10 strategic markets, including Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. With CETA and the CPTPP in place, Canada will have preferential market access to nearly 1.5 billion consumers.

On September 30, 2018, we announced the successful completion of negotiations toward the United States- Mexico-Canada Agreement. The United States and Mexico will continue to be top markets for Canadians, however, I believe there has never been a better time to diversify and seek opportunities in dynamic, fast-growing markets.

Building on this momentum, we are also looking to Latin America to provide more opportunities for our exporters. The nations of the Pacific Alliance—Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico—are engaged with us in talks to expand our status with the alliance. And earlier this year, we launched trade negotiations with MERCOSUR, a trading bloc comprising Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay that has a combined GDP of $2.9 trillion.

We know your members see benefits from the clarity and certainty that comes with free trade agreements.

Arriving at new agreements and diversifying our trade in all four corners of the world is providing that certainty.

Small to medium-sized enterprises are the drivers of economic success, and through these new trade agreements, they will employ more Canadians and boost export sales. From our Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, which has a presence in more than 160 offices in countries in the world, to Export Development Canada, which can help with funding, we have put in place the expertise, advice and boots on the ground to help your members navigate complex international markets so they can tap into new opportunities abroad and create more jobs at home.

We know that the exporters in the AMC share our vision of diversifying exports and creating new markets around the world. We are there with you to help meet the challenges and seize new opportunities.


Jim Carr has been a dedicated business and community leader in Winnipeg for more than 30 years. He was a musician and a journalist before entering public life in 1988. In 2015, he was elected as a Member of Parliament, and in the same year, was appointed as Minister of Natural Resources. In 2018, he became Minister of International Trade Diversification.