On 21 September 2017, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada entered into force provisionally. The CETA will be fully implemented and will definitively enter into force when all EU Member States have ratified the Agreement in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.
The Agreement will allow EU businesses to save €590 million a year – the amount they pay in tariffs on goods exported to Canada, will remove duties on 98% of products that the EU trades with Canada and will give EU companies the access to bid on the country’s public procurement contracts, not just at the federal level but also at provincial and municipal levels.
The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said: “This agreement encapsulates what we want our trade policy to be – an instrument for growth that benefits European companies and citizens, but also a tool to project our values, harness globalisation and shape global trade rules. This trade deal has been subject to an in-depth parliamentary scrutiny which reflects the increased interest of citizens in trade policy. The intense exchanges on CETA throughout this process are testimony to the democratic nature of European decision making and I expect Member States to conduct an inclusive and thorough discussion in the context of the ongoing national ratification processes of the agreement. Now it’s time for our companies and citizens to make the most out of this opportunity and for everyone to see how our trade policy can produce tangible benefits for everyone”.
In particular, the CETA will bring benefits for small companies by avoiding duplicative product testing requirements, lengthy customs procedures and costly legal fees. Regarding the agricultural sector, the new Agreement will also protect 143 EU “geographical indications” in Canada, high quality regional food and drink products. It will also create new opportunities for European farmers and food producers, opening the EU market for certain competing Canadian products and improving, on the other side, the access to the Canadian market for important European export products such as fruit, vegetables, cheese, wine and spirits.
Furthermore, the Agreement will also offer greater mobility for company employees, a framework to enable the mutual recognition of various professional qualifications and better legal certainty in the service economy.