Today in Brussels, Canada and the European Union (EU) announced an agreement in principle on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that will give Canada access to the world’s largest economy, with 28 member states, 500 million people and annual economic activity of almost $17 trillion.

The negotiations are not completed but an agreement has been reached on all substantive issues. CETA is broader than the North American Free Trade Agreement and will cover all sectors of Canada-EU trade. The Government of Canada has issued the document, Opening New Markets in Europe, which provides some details of the content of CETA in trade in goods, investment, services, government procurement, intellectual property and dispute settlement.

Once a final text has been agreed to it will go through a “legal scrub”, be translated into 28 languages and then ratified by Canada and the EU. The ratification process could take 18-24 months.

By signing this agreement, in combination with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada will now have guaranteed preferential access to more than 800 million consumers in the world’s two largest economies, the EU and the United States. How CETA will benefit Canada’s key economic sectors is set out in the government's Key Economic Sectors document.