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On March 3, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, represented by Cam Vidler, Director, International Policy, appeared before the House Standing Committee on International Trade to outline next steps for the Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which was announced by the government last fall.

“At the onset of the negotiations, our members were seeking an agreement that would reduce tariffs and expand quotas, open up markets for services and government procurement, improve trade facilitation and customs services, encourage regulatory cooperation and protect investments and intellectual property… Based on the technical summary released shortly after the announcement, we are confident that these objectives have been largely accomplished and that the deal will yield real and significant benefits for Canadian businesses and their employees and communities,” said Mr. Vidler.

“But it’s soon time to stop patting ourselves on the back. There’s a lot of hard work ahead to get CETA implemented within a reasonable timeframe and to make sure that Canadian businesses can fully exploit the benefits of the agreement.”

A number of hurdles lie ahead. Negotiators must agree on a final text, which will then go through legal review and translation. Both Canada and Europe will need to ratify the agreement and pass new legislation—an effort made difficult by upcoming elections in the European Parliament. Once the agreement is in effect, Canadian businesses of all sizes will need to be made aware of the opportunities opened by the agreement and how to best take advantage of them.

“Throughout these steps, the Canadian government will need to continue to exert the leadership that got us to where we are today,” said Mr. Vidler.

Speaking notes for Cam Vidler, Director, International Policy, to the House Standing Committee on International Trade.