N.L. Minister Rob Moore in town to talk CETA

James McLeod jmcleod@thetelegram.com
Published on January 16, 2014
Rob Moore, Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency was in St. John’s Wednesday.— Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Federal minister Rob Moore was in St. John’s Wednesday to talk about CETA, the federal budget, CETA, employment issues, and CETA.

Speaking at a St. John’s Board of Trade luncheon, he devoted the biggest chunk of his speech to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union. Then he talked to reporters about CETA, before leaving to attend a meeting with Fisheries Minister Keith Hutchings about CETA.

In his luncheon speech, Moore explained at length and in detail why CETA is a good thing for Newfoundland and Labrador, and Canada as a whole.

“Our government has made opening new markets through agreements like CETA a priority because we recognize that our prosperity as a country is linked to accessing economic opportunities beyond Canada’s  borders, and there’s probably no province that recognizes that need more than Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said.

“This competitive edge will make Canada an even more attractive destination for investors and for manufacturing.”

Moore, who is the minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador, said that the trade deal will create tens of thousands of jobs in Canada, and boost fisheries exports here in the province.

While he was in town, Moore also conducted a closed-door meeting with business, labour and post-secondary representatives.

After lunch, Moore sat down with Hutchings to talk about CETA some more, and start to nail down some details on a $400-million fisheries investment fund that that is linked to the trade deal.

The province and Ottawa have agreed to  cost-share the fund 70/30  to foster marketing, research and technological development and tackle employment issues in the fishery.

Thus far, all they’ve really agreed on is that the fund will be set up, and the money will start to flow after CETA is ratified, likely in 2015.

Hutchings said the Wednesday meeting was to start to discuss what kinds of projects would be funded, and how the money would flow.

“This is the first discussion we’re having today, in terms of putting some parameters in place,” he said.

“Obviously, as a province, we believe we know the priorities for the fishing industry. We will be looking to set those priorities.”

Moore was also meeting with Innovation, Business and Rural Development Minister Charlene Johnson while he was in town, talking about ACOA issues, and business in the province.

Johnson said the province already has a really good relationship with ACOA, but the two ministers were getting acquainted and talking about ways to get more money out of Ottawa.

During his speech to at the luncheon, one way that Moore suggested businesses make more money is to learn about CETA.

“If you’re not already involved in CETA potential for your own business, I encourage you to find out more about how this initiative can benefit your company,” he said.