Creating opportunities for Canada and advancing collaboration with APEC partners
Good morning, everyone. It is great to be here in San Francisco meeting with leaders and conducting the business of making Canada’s economy even stronger. Canada is a Pacific economy and we’re working to strengthen and deepen our cooperation with the 20 other Pacific economies here at APEC.
APEC represents almost 3 billion people and over 60% of global GDP. These are economies that are dynamic, growing, and that recognize that by working together we can build prosperity that works for people across the Pacific from north to south. There’s huge potential for Canada in opening up more trade along the Pacific. It’s why we launched our Indo-Pacific Strategy last year and why ministers from across the government have been working with counterparts in the region to strengthen Canada’s presence and forge new opportunities.
We are launching these initiatives to make the most of the potential that this dynamic region represents for Canada: the potential to create good jobs, the potential to expand the global market for Canadian companies, and the potential strengthen our relationships with partners to defend our values. Like democracy, fighting climate change and creating economies focused on everyone’s well-being are our priority issues.
But the very foundation of all this work must be built on peace and security. There’s a lot of turbulence in the world right now. We continue to call out Russia’s illegal and ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and I raised it in all of my interactions here at APEC. I also raised Canada’s concerns about the heartbreaking situation in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank and the deep, deep impact it’s having on people all around the world.
For the hostages taken 40 days ago and the families that are waiting in agony for their release, for the human tragedy that is unfolding in Gaza, for the suffering of everyone enduring this ongoing violence, and all of those around the world who’ve lost loved ones, that loss is being deeply felt. And Canada, like other APEC partners, has lost a number of our own.
I also thanked the leaders for sending firefighters to Canada this summer. People all around the world are being affected by the devastation of climate change and are helping one another. And it is in this spirit of cooperation that we discussed what we are doing in Canada in terms of clean energy and technologies to create joint opportunities.
APEC is about cooperating so we can build stronger economies and grow the middle class. Canada is a founding member of APEC, and today, four out of five of our top merchandise trading partners are APEC economies. This is a growing trade relationship thanks to efforts like the CPTPP and our Indo-Pacific Strategy, and also because Canada is firmly oriented towards the economy of the future. A lot of businesses and countries like what they see when they look at Canada.
Canada is a strong, stable democracy with solid institutions that can withstand pressure. About 84% of our economy is powered by clean electricity. We are making smart, strategic decisions, like investing in the development of an electric vehicle and battery supply chain that will support workers for decades to come.
They see a country with a strong middle class and a workforce that is inclusive, where women’s participation is higher than ever and is growing. And, since we’re in California near Silicon Valley, it also bears mentioning that businesses in other countries see all the innovation coming out of Canada: in AI, in quantum computing, and across tech. I had a chance to meet with leaders from the Canadian and American tech sector and hear about all the momentum there is around Canadian businesses. And our APEC partners see it too. Malaysia just signed a cybersecurity deal with BlackBerry.
Innovative ideas aren’t just about what happens in high-tech industries. It’s about getting creative and applying new thinking to big problems. That’s why I met with growers and grocers and innovators to talk about how we can lower the cost of food for people, including for Canadians. People at home continue to worry about the cost of feeding their families. We delivered on the grocery rebate and are calling on grocers to stabilize prices, but we know that with climate change and continued disruption from major powers like Russia, we have to think about the issue of food costs from every angle.
By rethinking logistics, by building more resilient supply chains, by strengthening trade, and by finding less expensive ways to grow nutritious food, we can help lower grocery prices for Canadians.
At the end of the day, it’s all about making people’s lives better. Canada is a destination of choice for investors around the world. Indeed, the OECD’s most recent numbers shows that Canada is in the top three biggest destinations for foreign investment. Here at APEC, we’re making sure that all of our Pacific partners understand the benefit of doing business in Canada. As always, I had lots of conversations, both formally and informally, with a huge range of my fellow leaders.
This year, the APEC themes focused on innovation, inclusion, and interconnectedness: these are concepts that Canada understands very well. We know that everything is interconnected.
Economic policy is climate policy, is security policy, is social policy; it all works together. And multilateral meetings like this one are crucial to making sure that we are supporting the middle class and meeting this moment on every front.
Thank you very much.