Canada will continue to bolster relationships in Latin America through more free-trade agreements and the support of Canadian companies doing business there, Canada's trade minister said Friday.
The federal government is in free-trade talks with many countries in the region, including Guatemala and Honduras, and will table a bill this fall for an FTA with Panama, Peter Van Loan said in a speech to a Toronto audience.
Canada has strengthened ties with the region in recent years, and more Canadian companies are expanding there because of its high growth potential and geographic proximity.
"These countries are aggressively moving forward, embracing science, technology and innovation as never before, and reaching out to the world for business opportunities," he said.
Panama, he added, is a key market because of its "unique place in the global trading system," where expansion plans for the canal are generating opportunities for Canadian companies.
Mr. Van Loan, recently returned from a visit to central and South America, was speaking at a Canadian Council for the Americas event.