Hon. Paul Marlin (Secretary of Slate for Exlernal Affairs):
In accordance with the practice followed on previous occasions, I should like to report that we have had a visit to Ottawa of United States cabinet members and senior officials who attended a two day meeting here on Wednesday and Thursday of the joint United States-Canadian committee on trade and economic affairs. This meeting provided an opportunity for Canadian ministers to discuss at first hand with the United States secretaries a range of important matters in Canada's relationship with the United States.
This was the ninth meeting this body has held since it was set up in 1953. It was evident in our discussions that good progress has been made during the past year in resolving the difficulties which exist in relations between the two countries. There has been a general improvement in our relations. There is today a determination in both countries that we should co-operate closely in resolving problems and promoting the interests of the two countries in economic and trade matters. The United States recognizes that there is an imbalance for Canada in its trade and payments with the United States, and agrees with our desire to improve our current account through an expansion of exports.
We had good discussions of ways in which we can expand our mutual trade and our trade with the rest of the world in manufactured goods, industrial materials and agricultural products. We have a common interest in working for the success of the forthcoming Kennedy round of GATT tariff and trade negotiations which opens next Monday in Geneva. These negotiations could lead to important gains for Canada's export trade.
During our two day meeting we dealt with many other trade and economic matters of importance to Canada, such as difficulties Canadian exporters are encountering as a 20220-179
U.S.-Canadian Trade Meeting result of the recent reclassification of the United States tariff. We are hopeful that United States restrictions on imports from Canada of lead and zinc and cheese can be eased. A program of studies relating to the utilization of the energy resources of the two countries was initiated.
We also had a good discussion of the Canadian automobile program which was introduced last November with the purpose of rationalizing production in Canada and increasing the efficiency of the Canadian industry. Our program is already showing itself to be successful. During recent months trade in motor vehicles and parts has been increasing substantially in both directions.
This visit to Ottawa of Mr. Rusk and his colleagues provided opportunities for Canadian ministers and their United States counterparts to have talks on other matters of joint concern. As the Prime Minister indicated in the house yesterday, we discussed the question of improving the highway to Alaska. We heard from the United States their ideas on the possible development of Passamaquoddy tidal power and we discussed great lakes water levels. I was particularly gratified to have an opportunity to review with the United States secretary of state a number of problems of critical concern internationally, particularly in view of the fact that he has just returned from visiting two countries in Indo-China.
Our discussions here on Wednesday and Thursday demonstrated clearly the wide range of common interests between Canada and the United States and the readiness of our two governments to co-operate in furthering our common interests. Where problems exist, these discussions at cabinet level serve to bring about a better understanding of each other's interests and policies. We are exploring the possibility of further developing principles which would facilitate co-operation in economic and other policies. We look forward to the next meeting of this committee, which will be held in Washington within the coming year.
Mr. Speaker, for the information of the house I wish to table copies, in French and English, of the communique which was issued at the end of the meeting yesterday.