Six years after Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia signed on, Manitoba has finally joined the New West Partnership Trade Agreement.
The province’s previous NDP government held out of the interprovincial deal, but the Progressive Conservatives, who formed government in April, have long been in favour of joining the neighbours to the west.
“Business owners, community leaders and chambers of commerce from across Manitoba have long called for our province to pursue new opportunities for growth and reduced trade barriers,” said Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister in a statement. “Joining the New West Partnership will bring these advantages. We look forward to working with British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan to expand opportunities and support stronger economies right across Western Canada.”
As part of the agreement, each province commits to enhancing trade, investment and labour mobility, and to removing barriers to movement of goods, services, investment and people within and between the provinces.
“We are pleased to welcome Manitoba into the New West Partnership,” said Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. “We’ve had great success over the past six years in removing barriers and opening up trade within our region. Together, we can continue to reduce hurdles affecting long-term business opportunities and make western Canada even stronger.”
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and B.C. Premier Christy Clark also welcomed Manitoba signing on.
“Western provinces are leaders in reducing barriers to trade and bringing Manitoba into the New West Partnership Trade Agreement can only strengthen our open market,” said Clark.
The original New West Partnership Trade Agreement came into effect July 1, 2010, and has been fully implemented since July 1, 2013.