On February 15, the European Parliament ratified the Canada-EU
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). In a world in
which protectionism has had a significant resurgence, notably in
the United States, this is a landmark accomplishment, both for
Canada and for the EU. It will open the door for increased trade
and investment opportunities for Canadian businesses in Europe and
European businesses in Canada. Negotiations have taken almost eight
years to complete. The Canadian Parliament is to ratify the
agreement in the very near future.
CETA goes beyond a classic trade liberalization agreement and
covers services, intellectual property, government procurement and
the movement of people. It will remove tariffs on most traded goods
and services. Certain exceptions will include dairy products and
audiovisual services. CETA also provides for the mutual recognition
of certification standards for a wide range of products.
Some aspects of the agreement, those not part of EU
jurisdiction, will require ratification by national parliaments in
the EU. However, 90% of the agreement does fall under exclusive EU
jurisdiction and that 90% will apply provisionally as early as
Given the protectionist signals coming from Washington and the
inevitable complexities of the upcoming BREXIT negotiations between
the EU and the UK, wrapping up CETA at this time was a very
important accomplishment for the EU and Canada. Finalizing the
agreement before crucial elections in the Netherlands, France and
Germany was also important. The agreement demonstrates that trade
liberalization is still possible and can be beneficial for all
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that "CETA is the
most progressive trade agreement ever negotiated by Canada or the
European Union. CETA sets a high standard for free trade agreements
of the future. It will benefit Canada and the European Union by
opening new markets and creating new opportunities for Canadian
businesses and workers on both sides of the Atlantic."
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