Canada and Free Trade: Next Stop, Japan
The tabling of the final text of the bilateral free trade agreement with South Korea earlier this month has brought Canada another step closer to its first trade agreement in Asia. While this will open up economic and trade opportunities, Canada has a unique opportunity to further strengthen its economy by finalizing a comprehensive trade agreement with Japan.
Canada-Japan bilateral trade exceeds $20 billion, allowing Canada to enjoy a trade surplus of about $1.4 billion. That two-way trade figure has remained fairly constant for the past six years, but a joint study by the Canadian and Japanese governments concluded that an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the two countries would move it to a much higher level. Specifically, the joint study noted that a Canada-Japan EPA could result in gains to Canada’s gross domestic product of between $4.1 billion and $9.8 billion, while Japan could see GDP gains of between $4.8 billion and $5.3 billion.
With figures like that, it’s no surprise that a recent survey by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada shows considerable support in Canada for a free trade agreement with Japan. According to the survey, 55 per cent of Canadians are in favour of a trade deal with Japan. Only trade deals with Australia and the European Union had higher levels of support