Hon. Robert Winters (Minister of Trade and Commerce):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the house that we have reached agreement with the People's Republic of Bulgaria to renew the most favoured nation trade agreement between our two countries. The appropriate documents will be signed later today.
Mr. Dimitar Kostov, chairman of the Bulgarian trade delegation, is in Ottawa to sign on behalf of his government the agreement which brings to a successful conclusion talks I opened with the Bulgarian trade minister, Mr. Budinov, in Sofia last September. The negotiations carried forward the friendly spirit of cooperation which has been a feature of our trade relations with Bulgaria in recent years.
Under the terms of the agreement Bulgaria has undertaken to purchase a minimum of 7.4 million bushels of wheat during the next three years with an option on a further 3.7 million bushels subject to the ability of the Canadian Wheat Board to supply. The basic quantity together with the additional option would represent about $24 million of trade at current prices. Purchases of wheat will be facilitated by the extension of credit arrangements under the Export Credits Insurance Act providing for payment over three years.
[DOT] (11:10 a.m.)
The exchange of letters concerning the expansion and diversification of trade between Canada and Bulgaria will express the interest of both contracting parties in further developing trade between our two countries. Bulgaria undertakes to give first consideration to Canada as a competitive source of supply for a number of goods other than wheat for which Canada has demonstrated export performance. The letter also indicates that within the framework of the laws and regulations it should be possible for Bulgaria to expand its exports to Canada.