Canada joins the Indigenous Economic Forum

Federal International Trade Secretary Mary Ng said Thursday that she wants indigenous peoples, who have been the basis of Canada’s trade, to benefit more from international free trade agreements.

At a ceremony in Ottawa with Aboriginal peoples from across Canada and New Zealand, Minister Ng announced that Canada is joining the Agreement on Economic and Trade Cooperation with Aboriginal Peoples. The minister said that membership in this international business forum aims to help First Nations, Inuit and M├ętis companies find new opportunities around the world.

There are more than 50,000 Aboriginal-owned businesses in Canada, contributing approximately C$30 billion to the economy each year.

Minister Mary Ng says that by joining the Indigenous Economic and Trade Cooperation Agreement, more Indigenous entrepreneurs will be able to benefit from FTAs, while also sharing their knowledge with Indigenous businesses around the world.

Liberal MP Jaime Baptiste, the first Mi’kmaq MP elected to Parliament, said this agreement would incorporate indigenous ways of knowing and being, not just about making profits, but about protecting lands and resources.

Mr. Baptiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations, believes joining this agreement is an “important step towards economic reconciliation, which will benefit many communities and many Indigenous businesses”.

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