OTTAWA — International Trade Minister Mary Ng says she wants Indigenous people — as the founders of trade in Canada — to benefit more from global free trade agreements.
At a ceremony in Ottawa with Indigenous people from throughout Canada and New Zealand, the minister announced that Canada is joining an international Indigenous trade forum to help First Nations, Inuit and Métis businesses find new international markets.
There are more than 50,000 Indigenous-owned businesses in Canada and they contribute close to $30 billion to the economy each year.
They include Raven Reads, a company that sends curated boxes of Indigenous-authored books and giftware and has 3,000 subscribers in 20 countries around the world.
Ng says by joining the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Co-operation Arrangement, more Indigenous entrepreneurs can benefit from free-trade deals while sharing know-how with Indigenous businesses around the world.
Liberal MP Jaime Battiste, the first Mi'kmaw member of Parliament in Canada, says the arrangement will integrate Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and is not just about making profits but protecting land and resources.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2022.
The Canadian Press