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EU-Canada Trade Agreement Enters into Force

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada on Thursday, September 21, entered into force provisionally.

Signed between the EU and Canada on October 2016, CETA is expected to offer new opportunities for EU businesses of all sizes to export to Canada.

“This agreement encapsulates what we want our trade policy to be — an instrument for growth that benefits European companies and citizens, but also a tool to project our values, harness globalization and shape global trade rules,” President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said, adding that it is a milestone in the EU’s trade policy.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Photo Source: European Commission

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

According to the European Commission, CETA will save EU businesses 590 million euros a year — the amount they pay in tariffs on goods exported to Canada. As of September 21 CETA removes duties on 98 percent of products (tariff lines) that the EU trades with Canada. It also gives EU companies the best access ever offered to companies from outside Canada to bid on the country’s public procurement contracts — not just at the federal level but at provincial and municipal levels, too.

“The intense exchanges on CETA throughout this process are testimony to the democratic nature of European decision making and I expect Member States to conduct an inclusive and thorough discussion in the context of the ongoing national ratification processes of the agreement,” Juncker said.

The agreement is expected to especially benefit smaller companies who can least afford the cost of the red tape involved in exporting to Canada. Small businesses will save time and money, for example, by avoiding duplicative product testing requirements, lengthy customs procedures and costly legal fees. Member States’ authorities dealing with export promotion stand ready to help businesses to start exporting overseas, boost existing trade, and attract investment.

The EU’s 500 million consumers are also expected to benefit from CETA. The agreement offers greater choice while upholding European standards, as only products and services that fully respect all EU regulations will be able to enter the EU market.

The provisional application of CETA on September 21 follows its approval by EU Member States, expressed in the Council, and by the European Parliament.

It will only enter into force fully and definitively, however, when all EU Member States have ratified the Agreement. The Commission intends to work with EU Member States and Canada to ensure its smooth and effective implementation.

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