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Free trade best way to create jobs, trade minister says

Free and open trade, rather than protectionism, is the best way to secure a global recovery and create jobs, International Trade Minister Ed Fast told a Montreal economic conference Wednesday.

In a speech to the International Economic Forum of the Americas, Fast said Canada must improve its access to growing markets around the world, particularly in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region. Canada’s government also hopes to conclude the world’s largest free-trade agreement with the European Union by the end of this year, he added.

Fast said people who deny the benefits of trade wilfully ignore the foundation of Canadian prosperity and its history. “ At its very heart, the anti-trade opposition lacks faith that Canada can succeed in the global economy, ” Fast told delegates to the 18th annual Conference of Montreal.