Canada, Indigenous leaders celebrate IPETCA
As part of its inclusive approach to trade, Canada is developing and implementing policies to ensure that Indigenous Peoples in Canada have access to all the benefits and opportunities that flow from international trade and investment.
Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, on Thursday, along with the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, and Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, as well as Indigenous leaders from Canada and other IPETCA economies marked the occasion of Canada’s endorsement of the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA). IPETCA is the first trade arrangement of its kind to recognize and support Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs on a global scale, according to a press release.
The ministers, the parliamentary secretary and Indigenous leaders were also joined at the Canadian Museum of History by representatives from national Indigenous organizations and Indigenous elders, knowledge keepers, and Indigenous Peoples from across Canada. On Wednesday, Minister Miller, Indigenous leaders and government officials participated in an Indigenous trade symposium on trade and Indigenous Peoples.
IPETCA marks a significant turning point in the way that the government engages with Indigenous Peoples on economic development and trade promotion. It builds on the model of the Indigenous Working Group, which worked closely with the government during negotiations on the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement to protect Indigenous rights and interests. Indigenous Peoples developed proposals, reviewed text and provided advice as Canada negotiated joining IPETCA, and through IPETCA they will contribute to determining priorities and designing cooperation activities that advance their trade and Indigenous economic development interests.
IPETCA currently includes Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei, and it is open to other economies to join. It commits the participating economies to establish an IPETCA Partnership Council jointly with Indigenous representatives to guide the work of implementing the Arrangement.
This Arrangement acknowledges the importance of enhancing the ability of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous businesses to benefit from the opportunities created by international trade and investment. By identifying and removing barriers for Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs through cooperation activities including procurement, access to financing, mentorship and skills development, Canada will continue working closely with Indigenous Peoples and international partners to help more Indigenous businesses start up, scale up and access new markets around the world.
“June is National Indigenous Peoples History Month, an opportunity to reflect on our collective past and present, and continue our work towards reconciliation. The Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA) honours the founders of trade in what we now call Canada, and provides an avenue for them to play a greater role in designing Canada’s trade and economic development policies. Through IPETCA, we continue our journey with a historic and innovative trade arrangement that will help promote trade and investment opportunities for Indigenous Peoples in markets around the world,” said Mary Ng.