Nova Scotia will be in a better position to resolve national trade disputes through amendments introduced today, April 30. An Act to Amend the Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act will allow monetary penalties against governments who ignore dispute panel rulings. The prospect of a large fine is seen as an incentive for resolving a dispute early. The provinces, participating territories and the federal government are committed to adopt the changes within the year. After that happens, the agreement provisions will strengthen enforcement so that governments honour trade commitments in Canada. “We are committed to doing our part to build stronger internal trade practices within Canada, which benefits all jurisdictions,” said Economic and Rural Development Minister Percy Paris. “Working together to develop and maintain an open and efficient domestic market will help grow the economy and create a positive business environment.” In August 2007, at a Council of the Federation meeting, the premiers agreed to strengthen the Agreement on Internal Trade through a five-point action plan. The Act to Amend the Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act represents an important step towards achieving the plan’s objectives. The Agreement on Internal Trade establishes a framework for Canadian governments to eliminate and avoid national trade and labour mobility barriers. It has specific rules covering government procurement, labour mobility, consumer-related measures and standards, agricultural food goods, alcoholic beverages, natural resources processing, communications, transportation and environmental protection.