recently announced free-trade agreement between Canada and the
European Union potentially opens up lucrative markets for
Canadian companies and offers more investment into the country,
the Aluminum Association of Canada and the Mining Association
of Canada (MAC) said.
The agreement includes
the gradual elimination of tariffs on a host of aluminum
products, including rod, billet and alloys, Aluminum
Association of Canada president and chief executive officer
Jean Simard said in a statement.
agreement with Europe is an unprecedented growth opportunity
for the Canadian aluminum industry," he said.
The pact could see
Canadian companies supply the European automotive market and
niche markets currently supplied by producers in the Middle
East, Simard said. But realizing that growth also depends on
Canadian producers receiving low-cost energy, he said, noting
that Middle East aluminum companies produced more than their
competitors in Quebec in 2012 and at an electricity cost of 2
cents per kilowatt hour.
Quebec is a center of
aluminum production in Canada, with much of the industry
powered by hydroelectricity instead of fossil fuels. The
Aluminum Association of Canada and Canadian aluminum producers,
such as Montreal-based Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., have previously
called on Quebec officials to provide the cheaper power that
they say is necessary for the provinces aluminum industry
to grow (amm.com, Oct. 4).
Politicians in Quebec
also cheered the deal, predicting the province could benefit
from increased trade and access to public contracts in Europe.
"Because of its limited domestic market, Quebec must be more
open to the world," Quebec Premier Pauline Marois said in a
The pact, once in
force, should eliminate European tariffs on Canadian mineral
products, including iron and steel, aluminum, nickel, copper,
zinc, lead and tin; increase labor mobility; and boost European
investment in Canadas mining sector, MAC president and
chief executive officer Pierre Gratton said in a statement.
While an agreement has
been reached in principle, it has yet to be ratified, Canadian
Prime Minister Stephen Harpers office said in a
statement. Canadian media have said the ratification process
could take years.