Remarks at the Canada-Germany Business Forum
Thank you, Amber, for your introduction and your hard work all day in this business forum and thank you, Yvonne and the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce for organizing today's event. Perrin, it’s good to have you with us and so many Canadian business leaders alongside you. Of course, Olaf, Chancellor Scholz, thank you for your remarks and for gathering so many German business leaders here as well. It really is a testament to how seriously, not just your government, but the German economy is taking this potential for deepening already strong trade ties and partnership ties with Canada. Of course, on my side, I'm joined today by Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and ministers Francois Philippe Champagne, Melanie Joly and Jonathan Wilkinson, who are helping lead investments across our economy that are generating clean innovation, new technologies and of course, good, well-paying jobs. Germany is one of Canada's most significant trading partners, with almost $26 billion in merchandise trade last year. Our strong business to business ties are also evident in the almost $32 billion worth of direct investment from Germany into our economy and this is a growing trade relationship. Last year, trade between our countries was up 14% compared to what it was before CETA.
Canada and Germany share a vision of the future where our economies are resilient and carbon neutral. And to build this future, we have to make sure we increase our capacity to produce clean energy.
In the face of the current geopolitical situation with Russia weaponizing fossil fuel exports, we are standing shoulder to shoulder with our European friends and allies. Canada is doing our part to add to the global energy supply right now. But it has never been clearer why we need to accelerate the green transition and you should have no doubts that Canada has what it takes to be a supplier of clean energy in a net zero world.
We have the workers, the businesses, the expertise and the drive to provide the world with the energy it needs, and will need even more in the decades to come. Part of this is obviously natural gas, but we’re also talking about opportunities like biomass, critical minerals and hydrogen, of course. Commercial investment is crucial and there is no shortage of opportunities. Every region in Canada has the potential to be a part of this effort.
When it comes to clean energy, Canada means business. You'll see proof of this later today when Olaf and I visit Stephenville in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Electrification, including the electrification of vehicles, is also an important element of our plan to grow a thriving, clean economy. Canada has what it takes to meet the rising demand for electric vehicles.
Global investors know that Canada is a reliable strategic partner when it comes to our EV future. Recently, we've made investments alongside car manufacturers like Ford and Stellantis and battery manufacturers like Umicore and Germany's own BASF and shortly we'll have some really great announcements from Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz. And this isn't just good for industry and the climate, this is good for workers. The investments across Canada this year alone in everything from building hybrids to EVs to EV batteries have secured almost 17,000 great jobs because that's what it's all about at the end of the day, real opportunities that benefit people.
It is important as government and business leaders to never forget that we are accountable not only to shareholders and stakeholders, but also to people, workers and communities.
When we support the middle class where we put people at the center, we create the conditions for growth. Our government has made a point to invest in the critical social infrastructure that supports workers and families. I'm talking about programs like $10 a day child care, which alone is projected to grow our economy by 1.2%.
Or increases we've made to the federal minimum wage and income benefits for low-income workers. Programs like these are helping Canada achieve historic reductions in income inequality and ensuring a strong and resilient workforce.
The economy is about people! That’s why we put jobs at the heart of our economic recovery plan following COVID-19. The results speak for themselves: Canada recovered all the jobs we lost during the pandemic nine months before the United States did. The unemployment rate is now at an all-time low, and we are continuing our work.
We've got ambitious plans. We want to work with German partners to create good family sustaining jobs on both sides of the Atlantic today, more importantly, well into the future. There's huge potential in the innovative and research heavy sectors that provide highly paid skilled jobs, talking about good areas, as Olaf mentioned, like artificial intelligence and quantum technologies. Both Canada and Germany are committed to the responsible development and use of these technologies.
We also have high-growth sectors such as bio-manufacturing and life sciences that not only create opportunities but also protect people’s health.
Canada is the most educated country in the OECD and our open immigration policies are attracting talent and competitive industries. Germany is a true friend and partner of Canadian business, creating opportunities to celebrate and showcase the exceptional talent and expertise of Canadians across industries, including in the cultural centre, where just last fall Canada was the guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair. But as Olaf mentioned, perhaps more interest to this room, we should all be really pleased that Canada has accepted Germany's gracious invitation for 2025 to be a featured partner at Hannover Messe, the world's leading industry and technology trade fair. The competitiveness of Canadian businesses is evidence for everyone here to see. We have tremendous opportunities ahead of us, and I look forward to the work that we're all going to do together.
I would like to thank my friend Olaf once again for coming to Canada and for everyone being here together. Thank you for being here today, but most of all, thank you for all the work we will do together in the years to come! Thank you!