Montreal, Que.--The Port of Montreal says Montreal's port community is delighted with the new economic and trade agreement between Canada and the European Union (EU).
"We are the leading port on the North American East Coast for trade between Northern Europe and North America's industrial heartland," said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), during a press conference held at the MPA administration building this week. The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, and the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Security and Emergency Preparedness, participated in the press conference and were accompanied by representatives of the business sector.
The federal ministers said that workers and companies from the major sectors of Quebec's economy will benefit greatly from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU.
Strategically located between the world's two largest economic blocs, the EU and NAFTA, the Port of Montreal is the natural gateway for Europe. European markets already represent 39 percent of total traffic and close to 65 percent of container traffic moving through the Port of Montreal. Moreover, Quebec accounts for 35 percent of Canadian exports moving to Europe. These exports, in particular those transported by container, move for the most part through the Port of Montreal.
Among the main exports that will benefit from the new accord are agri-food products such as pork and beef, and certain finished and semi-finished products such as aeronautic parts, and pulp and paper.
"Within the context of the new free-trade agreement with the European Union, our vision to expand the port to our land at Contrecoeur takes on added significance," said Vachon.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced last week an agreement in principle on the trade agreement.
In related news, the Montreal Port Authority has re-appointed Michel M. Lessard as chairman of the board. Anik Trudel was named vice-chair of the Montreal Port Authority
Lessard and Trudel were appointed for a period of two years.