PM Trudeau and PM Rutte of the Netherlands hold a joint media availability
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE JUSTIN TRUDEAU (Prime Minister of Canada): Prime Minister Rutte and I have worked together many times, since the beginning of my mandate, cooperating on issues of shared interest like trade, economic growth, climate change, and peace and security around the world. We share not only a set of common goals, but a deep commitment to the values we hold dear. Values like democracy, human rights, and equality. Values upon which our relationship was built, and will continue to grow on in the years ahead, I’m sure. Today’s meeting was a chance for us to discuss the future of a closer partnership between our two countries. We made good progress on trade, climate change, and peace and security.
We began by discussing trade and the economy. A little over a year ago, we celebrated the signing of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. A resolutely progressive, modern and ambitious agreement, CETA benefits middle-class families, businesses and workers on both sides of the Atlantic. By reducing obstacles to trade, the agreement encourages the creation of good jobs here in Canada and in Europe. It also allows small and medium sized businesses to reach new markets and hundreds of millions of new customers. CETA also reflects our values and fulfills our ambitions. It protects the right of countries to regulate in the public interest and implement policies to support our cultural industries, as well as protecting labour standards and encouraging greater cooperation around the environment and climate change. And less than a year after coming into effect, CETA is already yielding very promising results.
In the first year of CETA’s provisional application, Canada’s exports to the Netherlands have increased by 33%, while Dutch imports have increased by 24%. These increases are amongst the highest in the EU, and they are a tremendously positive sign of the direction that our partnership will take under the agreement. More trade means more opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs, more customers for companies, growth for the middle class, and more jobs for people in Canada and in the Netherlands.
As part of this meeting, the Prime Minister and I also talked about the growing threat of climate change, which we know is the greatest challenge of our time. Almost three years ago, Canada, the Netherlands, and the rest of the world, signed on to an ambitious plan to lower emissions and put a halt to a warming climate. We stand firm in our commitment to meet our targets and fully implement the Paris Agreement. In fact, earlier this week, Canada took another step in the right direction when we put a price on pollution. In every province and territory in this country, it will no longer be free to pollute, and as a result of this plan, every family will be better off. Make no mistake, climate change is a problem we can, and will, solve. The scientific and economic arguments are clear. Solutions do exist, and Canadians can count on their government to not only take action, but to lead, at home and abroad.
At the G7 summit, Canada and its partners concluded the Oceans Plastics Charter. This was an important step towards achieving a life-cycle economy in which all plastics would be recycled and repurposed. This was terrific news not only for the environment, but for businesses who stand to benefit from reducing the cost associated with plastic use. And on that note, I’m very much looking forward to working closely with Prime Minister Rutte to reduce plastic pollution and keep our oceans clean and healthy for generations to come.
In addition to trade and climate change, this meeting was also a chance to discuss matters of regional and defence security issues. Canada serves alongside the Netherlands in the NATO-led training mission in Iraq, and in the Baltics. I reiterated to Mark, Canada’s unwavering commitment to NATO’s mission, and to our allies. As I mentioned earlier, the Netherlands and Canada are united by the values we share, the same values we are proud to be defending around the world. Countries like ours must stand up for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law at a time when these institutions are facing growing uncertainty. That’s why we are committed not only to defence efforts, but to keep... peacekeeping missions, notably, in Mali. We will continue to work together to build a more peaceful and prosperous world, a world where the rights and liberties of every citizen are upheld and protected.
Finally, we discussed the ties that bind our citizens. As the Prime Minister stressed in his speech to the House of Commons earlier this morning, the Dutch and Canadian peoples have not only a shared history, but shared ambitions as well. I am thinking, for example, of our commitment to build a greener world, more innovative economies and a more egalitarian labour force, notably for women and cultural and ethnic minorities. Our strengthened cooperation on the international scene and the large number of students who decide to pursue their education in the other country attest to our strong relationship. That is what makes the Netherlands not just a strong partner of Canada, but a close friend.
It is a friendship that was forged, notably, during the Second World War. It was here in Ottawa that the Dutch Royal Family found safe harbour during the occupation. In 1945, at the end of the war, it was Canadian troops who liberated the Netherlands. In recognition, the Dutch people sent tens of thousands of tulips to Ottawa, marking the start of a great tradition. The tulips that adorn the streets of the Capital every year in the month of May remind us of the bonds of friendship that we celebrate today and hope to increase in the years to come.
The friendship that defines our two countries and our people is truly exceptional. I have no doubt that we will find new ways to build on the strong and unique relationship that unites us and grows even closer in the years to come. Once again, I want to thank Prime Minister Rutte, I want to thank Mark for his visit, and I look forward to continuing the work we did here in Ottawa, as we will on the international stage and in many bilateral meetings. Thank you, Mark, turning it over to you now.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MARK RUTTE (Prime Minister of The Netherlands): Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Well, first of all, I’d like to thank Prime Minister Trudeau, Justin, and the Canadian Parliament, for the warm welcome I received today.
On the disturbing news about explosive devices in the United States, I completely agree with the statement the Canadian Prime Minister just made.
In my meeting with the Prime Minister, and also in my speech to Parliament, I stressed that Canada is a natural partner for the Netherlands. We’re like-minded countries that always see eye-to-eye. We have a special history, and we share a bright future. The Netherlands will forever be grateful to Canada for the courageous sacrifices made by the Canadians during our liberation. And we remain close partners and key allies on the world stage, in areas ranging from peace and security, to free trade and climate change.
For example, the Ocean Plastic Charter. I’m happy to announce that the Netherlands endorses the Charter and the goals for a resource efficient life cycle management of plastics. This is in line with our ambitions to transition to a 100% circular economy in the Netherlands.
We work closely with NATO and the UN in Mali, Afghanistan, and the anti-ISIS coalition, to mention just a few examples. We are both working hard to combat climate change, and promote climate adaptation, and we are both firm supporters of a rules-based international order. We believe that by working together in multilateral fora, we can have a more productive dialogue on international institutions and the necessary possible reforms.
Canada and the Netherlands have an intensive commercial relationship. The Netherlands is the second biggest investor in Canada. In the last ten years, trade flows from the Netherlands to Canada have tripled. And conversely, the Netherlands is an appealing destination for Canadian companies, thanks in part to our outstanding infrastructure. CETA provides many opportunities for future growth. Since its provisional entry into force, Dutch exports to Canada have grown, and also the exports from Canada to the Netherlands have grown. I believe we can expect more positive effects as ratification moves ahead and businesses become more familiar with the benefits. We are both working together to make this happen. In fact, this is the theme of part of my afternoon program.
The Netherlands is very glad to have a partner like Canada in the international arena. In a rapidly changing world, a relationship like ours is more and more valuable. We will continue seeking each other out to bolster our partnership and pursue the same goals. Again, Justin, thank you so much.
RT HON. JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Thank you.