On March 14th, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Trade Commissioner Service, as well as the Canada-Europe Roundtable for Business, to host a seminar to promote export opportunities stemming from the Canada-EU trade deal, otherwise more affectionately known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
The CETA has been a long time in the making. Negotiations started in 2009 and concluded in 2014. The pact was signed in October 2016, and the majority of it came into “provisional application” on September 21st, 2017. Although nearly all of the agreement has entered into force, it cannot be considered fully ratified until all parliaments across the EU have passed it.
Despite the years of hard work by Canadian negotiators, trade deals only deliver their potential if businesses take advantage of them. As businesses heard at this event, CETA presents a number of opportunities across many sectors of the economy.
- 98% of tariffs were eliminated when CETA came into force. A small portion are being phased out various periods up to seven years, and then there are a few products (such as beef and pork) which will be subject tariff rate quotas.
- CETA also gives Canadian companies greater opportunities to bid on European procurement contracts.
- Canadian companies will have also an easier ability to move talent where it is needed through CETA’s labour mobility chapter. CETA includes provisions that cover length of stay and entry conditions for intra-company transferees, as well as those providing services on a contractual basis.
That’s just a sampling of what’s on offer.
However, CETA is only the starting point. Once you get past the tariffs and other headline items, companies will still need to be mindful of domestic regulatory requirements such as product safety standards. CETA creates a number of specialized bodies that will get into the technical details of various sectoral issues, and there is an opportunity for Canadian businesses to shape the agenda of these groups. By getting in early, Canadian companies can advocate to ensure that non-tariff barriers in their sector are more likely to be addressed.
Although the length of the CETA text can be daunting (it’s around 1,600 pages), the agreement presents opportunities for SMEs and larger businesses. The Trade Commissioner Service intends to work to ensure CETA delivers for businesses of all sizes, but they are acutely aware of the challenges SMEs face, especially if they are first time exporters.
The Canadian Chamber looks forward to working with its local and regional Chambers, association members, and corporate members to ensure businesses have the best information on how to make CETA work for them. We will continue to advocate that the Canadian government diversifies our market access opportunities abroad, and that the trade promotion services offered by the Trade Commissioners are reaching their full potential.
Events like this are the first step in the process. We would like to extend a warm thank you to Ambassadors Alexandra Bugailiskis and Dan Costello for presenting the opportunities presented by CETA, as well as the ongoing work being done by the Trade Commissioner Service. We’d also like to pass along our gratitude to the sponsors who made the event possible, including CropLife Canada, RBC, and Air Canada as well as PwC as our venue hosts.