The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Business Council of Canada and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters issued the following statement today regarding the open letter by Canadian and Quebec elected officials calling on French parliamentarians to not ratify CETA in their upcoming vote:

The Canadian business community is deeply disappointed to see a number of Canadian and Quebec elected officials asking the French parliament to defeat the ratification of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which has been supported by the federal Parliament and by provincial and territorial governments across Canada.

It is disturbing that Canadian MPs, including the leaders of two political parties, would undermine Canadians by lobbying foreign Parliamentarians to defeat a measure that has been passed by our Parliament.

At a time when Canada needs more trade certainty, our three organizations strongly oppose careless actions that risk our collective economic interests. Asking a foreign legislature to vote down the agreement not only undermines the will of the majority of Canadians but also weakens our ability to create more prosperity for all Canadians.

CETA is critical to Canada’s economy. Thirty percent of our GDP is generated by exports. As we have learned from our negotiations with the current US administration, the need for Canadian businesses to tap into new markets is more important than ever before.

CETA has already delivered benefits for Canadian businesses, with a 7% increase in merchandise trade to the EU. The EU is our second-largest trading partner and is a crucial market if Canadian companies are to reduce their over-reliance on one customer. CETA is even more important today than it was during the time of its negotiation.

CETA is the product of Canadian ideals: every province signed on to CETA, and polls show that a consistent majority of Canadians support the agreement. The federal and Quebec elected officials who signed the open letter should respect Canadians, the democratic process by which CETA was developed and the will of the clear majority of Canadians.”