Prime Minister Trudeau and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny deliver remarks in Montréal
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE JUSTIN TRUDEAU (Prime Minister of Canada): Hello everyone and welcome. Earlier this morning we welcomed Ireland’s Taoiseach Kenny to Montreal. For many years Canada has maintained a solid relationship with Ireland – a relationship based on a shared past, common values, and most of all joint objectives. It was therefore a pleasure to have the chance to get to know each other better.
Our morning began with a productive bilateral meeting, during which we discussed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, set to come into force next month, and the many benefits it will bring for the middle class.
Taoiseach Kenny and I talked about the importance of growing and strengthening the middle class in our two countries, and we believe that CETA, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, will do just that. By reducing trade barriers, we will open up access to the world’s second largest market, making it easier for Canadian businesses to reach new customers and cheaper for Canadians and their families to buy from Europe.
On the first day of CETA’s entry into force, 98% of EU tariff lines will be removed for all Canadian goods, and once CETA is fully implemented, 99% of goods will be tariff-free. That means more choices, and lower prices for Canadians. By opening up new markets, businesses will be able to grow and create good, well-paying jobs that the middle-class citizens of our country need. This agreement will help to put food on the tables for families while strengthening our communities. An ambitious and comprehensive trade deal, CETA is a model for global trade as it establishes a framework to create real, meaningful growth that will benefit everyone, not just the richest 1%. It includes provisions to protect workers’ rights, safeguard our environment, support public services, and resolve investment disputes through an improved and independent system. That’s what makes CETA a truly progressive deal in line with the values of its signatories.
In signing this agreement, Canada, Ireland and all our European partners have demonstrated leadership on the international stage, and we eagerly await CETA’s coming into force in the coming months.
Once again, thank you for being with us today, and thank you to Taoiseach Kenny for this productive meeting. I look forward to taking your questions afterwards, but now I’m pleased to welcome a friend of Canada, Taoiseach Kenny, for a few words.
TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY (Prime Minister of Ireland): Thanks Justin. (Irish greeting). First of all, I want to say that I met with the Prime Minister very briefly at the Climate Change Conference in Paris, and I’m very happy to have been able to come here to Canada and to Montreal, his home city today and have a really good conversation with the Prime Minister about the things that we can do together; and the situation is that Ireland shares very strongly the views of Canada about the opportunity for trade and investment, about the opportunity for prosperity and jobs, and about the things that unite us.
I’ve thanked the Prime Minister for the historic generosity and openness, and warmth that the Canadian population have shown to our immigrants through forced immigration because of economic circumstances, and other reasons, over the last 200 years. And I thank the Prime Minister also for keeping the visa opportunities open for two years for many young people who might want to come here to Canada to get experience and to work in this great country.
I’ve invited Prime Minister Trudeau to come to Ireland when he has the opportunity to do so, following in the footsteps of his own late father, who visited as Prime Minister in the 1970s, and he may have the opportunity to go back to Innisfree and see its tranquil beauty in the morning.
I do want to say that we had a really good discussion about CETA, and from our perspective clearly this is a real opportunity for Europe and Canada to work together, for Ireland and Canada to work together, and we see enormous potential both ways now, in terms of the chambers of commerce, business interests, manufacturing products, exports and imports to either country; and we are going to follow through on that.
Also, in the European sense, obviously with BREXIT underway, when the United Kingdom has left the European Union, Ireland is an English-speaking country in the Euro-zone, and we can see ourselves as being an important factor in Canada’s investment to Europe, through Ireland, to Europe, in the same ways as United States did so many years ago, when the European economic community became the European Union.
So we’ve talked about a range of other opportunities for investment here and to Ireland and Europe. We also discussed the relevance of our approaches to the Trump administration in the United States. Clearly I pointed out to Justin the long-established connections that Ireland has had with the United States, and how we can work on those for the benefit of this new administration in seeking out ways to have really effective trading relations that will work for Canada across the border to the U.S., and will work for the U.S. along with Canada to Europe and Ireland.
So this has been a very good conversation, a very good meeting. I thank you for taking the time to give us that opportunity, and we look forward to strengthening the relations between the Irish and the Canadians in the times ahead. And thank you again Prime Minister.