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Source: Small Island Developing States

23 August 2019: The Government of Canada has conducted a gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) on a potential free trade agreement (FTA) between Canada and the South American trading bloc Mercosur, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. This is the first time such an analysis has been carried out on an ongoing free trade negotiation.

In March 2018, the Government of Canada committed to conduct an expanded impact assessment on the Mercosur FTA negotiations, including examining potential impacts on gender and labor using a GBA approach. GBA is a tool used to analyze the potential opportunities and impacts of a government policy, programme or other initiative on people, including women, indigenous peoples and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The tool aims to help support Canada’s inclusive approach to trade, which emphasizes that the benefits and opportunities resulting from FTAs should be widely shared among diverse groups of people.

The gender-based analysis aims to address trade and economic development in a way that benefits more Canadians, said Jim Carr.

The initial summary of the GBA+ includes an economic impact assessment that considers gross domestic product (GDP) gains, trade gains, job and wage gains, income inequality, gendered impacts, labor force participation, youth and SMEs. On income inequality, for example, the analysis finds that real wage gains are likely to be strongest in percentage terms for manual laborers and machinery operators, whose wages would grow at a faster pace than those of workers in managerial, professional and technical groups, which would therefore help mitigate income inequality in Canada and support wider benefits from trade.

For youth, the proposed FTA is estimated to result in higher employment as a result of a rise in new job market opportunities. Similarly, the proposed FTA is likely to add more jobs for female workers, contributing to their expanded role in the labor force. The summary concludes that the proposed FTA would generate economic benefits for both economies, including “positive effects for under-represented groups in Canada’s economy,” promoting gender balance in the economy, encouraging youth employment and increasing the number of SMEs in Canada.

The GBA summary is expected to inform the ongoing negotiations and help identify opportunities to add new gender-responsive and inclusive trade provisions across the FTA. The initial GBA+ is complementary to Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy, and helps support progress on the government’s Gender Results Framework, which aims to promote gender equality around the world, in line with SDG 5 (gender equality).

Canada’s Minister of International Trade Diversification, Jim Carr, said the gender-based analysis will help to ensure that Canada’s FTAs, such as the Canada-Mercosur agreement, address trade and economic development in a way that benefits more Canadians,” including SMEs owned by women and indigenous peoples. [Summary of Initial GBA+ for Canada-Mercosur] [GBA+ Website]

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