August 26, 2008 / 5:51 PM / 9 years ago

Canada and Jordan reach free trade pact

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government said on Tuesday it had wrapped up free trade negotiations with Jordan, along with parallel labor and environment agreements.

The deal will improve market access for Canadian agricultural products and industrial goods, and eliminate tariffs on the vast majority of current exports to Jordan, International Trade Minister Michael Fortier said.

“This bilateral free trade agreement will open up significant opportunities for Canadian companies in this growing economy, as well as elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa,” Fortier said in a statement.

The agreements need to go through legal reviews before being signed. They then would go to Canada’s Parliament for 21 sitting days for review and debate, after which the government would introduce draft legislation for implementation.

Canadian exports to Jordan amounted to C$60 million ($57 million) in 2007, up from C$31 million in 2003.

Including imports from Jordan worth C$16 million, bilateral trade in 2007 totaled C$76 million.

The top Canadian exports were forest products, electrical machinery, and agricultural and agri-food products.

Jordan’s exports to Canada mainly consist of apparel and agricultural products.

The agreements commit the two countries to uphold international labor standards on the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, the abolition of child labor, the elimination of compulsory labor and the elimination of discrimination.

The deal also requires them to refrain from relaxing environmental laws to encourage trade or investment, and that they commit to improving those laws and policies.

($1=$1.05 Canadian)

Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Ted Kerr

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