Advancing gender equality and women’s economic empowerment and participation in trade is a fundamental part of Canada’s Export Diversification Strategy and is key to ensuring that economic and trade recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is inclusive and sustainable.
Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, hosted a virtual meeting with the members of the Inclusive Trade Action Group (ITAG): Andrés Allamand, Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; Rodrigo Yañez, Chile’s Vice Minister of Trade; and David Parker, New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth.
The ministers signed a new Global Trade and Gender Arrangement, under which Canada, Chile, and New Zealand will work together to share best practices and promote gender equality, including in international organizations such as the World Trade Organization. The arrangement lays out clear steps to making sure the benefits of trade and investment are more broadly shared among people in Canada and around the world.
The arrangement builds on Canada’s long-standing commitment to gender equality and inclusive trade and supports the three countries’ shared commitment to building economies where everyone can succeed.
The ministers also discussed plans for ITAG’s future work and agreed to continue working together to ensure that global economic recovery includes all people and to break down barriers faced by women, Indigenous peoples, and others.
“The new Global Trade and Gender Arrangement is a major step forward in our work to promote gender equality and the economic empowerment of women on the world stage. I look forward to working with ministers Allamand, Yañez, and Parker to put more inclusive trade policies into practice to benefit all people in our countries. We welcome other countries to join this arrangement, which recognizes the importance of reinforcing trade policies that create growth and prosperity for our businesses, our communities, and our economies.”
– Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
Investing in women makes economic sense. According to a recent report by the McKinsey Institute, advancing women’s equality in our national economies could add $12 trillion to global growth. And yet, according to the World Economic Forum’s recent report on the global gender gap, worldwide, only 55% of women are engaged in the labour market as opposed to 78% of men.
Canada takes a whole-of-government approach to advancing gender equality. The Government of Canada’s work to support women’s economic empowerment complements other work to advance gender equality, including legislating pay equity, investing nearly $1.2 billion to support child care in 2020 to 2021, and developing a national plan to address gender-based violence.
Minister Ng leads Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a $5-billion investment that provides access to financing, networks, and expertise to help more women start businesses, scale up, and access new markets. This strategy, launched in 2018, has been leveraged amid COVID-19 to continue providing women entrepreneurs and business owners with support.
As part of its Export Diversification Strategy, Canada is advancing an inclusive approach to trade that seeks to ensure that the benefits and opportunities flowing from trade are more widely shared, including with under-represented groups such as women, small and medium-sized enterprises, and Indigenous peoples.
On June 5, 2017, the Government of Canada broke new ground when the Minister of International Trade signed Canada’s first Trade and gender chapter in the modernized Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement. This chapter was the first of its kind for any G20 country.
It is a priority of the Government of Canada to ensure that free trade agreements include trade and gender chapters and other inclusive provisions.
Canada, Chile, and New Zealand are advancing inclusive trade initiatives through ITAG, established on the margins of the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit.