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For Immediate Release

Ottawa, Oct. 21, 2016—The collapse of talks between Canada and European Union around the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) represents a serious setback for efforts to restore economic growth, says the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

“Canada and the EU are advanced democratic societies with shared values and history, and CETA is the most modern and balanced trade agreement in the world. It would be hard to find two partners that are better-suited to building a an economic alliance, so it’s incredibly disappointing to see the agreement fall short of the finish line by a few inches. There are very few points still in contention, and the meetings I’ve had with European business representatives and parliamentarians all showed promising signs. Yet, right now, short-sighted protectionism is winning out,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “The European business community supports this agreement, as does the Canadian business community. Ratifying CETA would provide an important signal that the EU can still build international relationships in a post-Brexit world, so it’s particularly damaging to have it fall short because of internal politics,” he continued.

 CETA would eliminate or reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers, making Canadian goods, technologies and services more competitive in the lucrative EU market. The benefits of the agreement could reach businesses of all sizes in many different sectors, extending to workers and their families, and to consumers. Overall, the agreement could inject over $12 billion of new revenue into the Canadian economy, boosting bilateral trade by 20% according to a joint Canada-EU study. Europeans businesses would enjoy similar benefits in Canada.

“Stronger economic relationships are the single best tool for Europe and Canada to improve our citizens’ standards of living. We urge Belgium to look beyond short-term politics to the opportunity for economic growth this agreement represents,” said Mr. Beatty. “With this agreement in place, all European companies – including those from Belgium – will have increased market access here in Canada, and our companies can thrive in Europe. The agreement is fair and balanced, and will benefit all of the countries involved.”

“It is worrisome to see European countries retreating from global agreements, since it means continued low economic growth for the foreseeable future. CETA should be one of the ways to reverse that trend, building on our shared values, heritage and interests,” concluded Mr. Beatty.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. 

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G. Will Dubreuil Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations

Canadian Chamber of Commerce