From NAFTA to CUSMA: opportunities for EU companies

CUSMA, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, came into effect on July 1st perfectly in time for Canada day, replacing NAFTA. In Canada, it’s called CUSMA but in the US, it’s USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) and TMEC (Tratato Mexico-Estados Unidos-Canada) in Mexico.

In effect since January 1st, 1994, the Trump Administration’s main reason for renegotiating NAFTA was to stop the flow of automobile assembly lines heading to Mexico. NAFTA had replaced the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement of 1988, itself broadening the scope of its predecessor, the Auto Pact of 1965. The Auto Pact began the integration of the Canadian and American automobile industries. Trump had declared NAFTA the worse-ever Free Trade Agreement signed by the United States and now declared USMCA (CUSMA), the best ever. This could lead us to believe that the new Agreement is very different from the original one but nothing is further from the truth.

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Belgian National Day 2020

Dear Belgian and Canadian friends and BCBC members and partners.
I trust you are all well, in form and keeping safe.

Certainly, the confinement measures have allowed us to discover our new qualities: versatility, resilience, tenacity and resourcefulness, and some faults as well. In this respect, we have adjusted to new ways of keeping-up our routines and connecting with each other, in spite of the constraints imposed by the isolation. And though, we have become accustomed to the “new normal”, if you will, I think we await impatiently for the “post-pandemic return”, which we hope will be as soon as possible. Although, the confinement seems to be coming to an end and we are considering new projects for the Belgian chamber, the new day to day life will impose certain social distancing measures that may not allow us to do so right away. 

In this particular context, we have prepared an activity for the Belgian National Day on July 21, 2020. We are proposing to mark the festive date with a Belgian Beer tasting event, which will also include cheese, chocolate and other Belgian goodies.

The event promises not only to be delectable, but also instructive. Registration includes a boxset with a variety of beers and goodies, as well as, the link to a Virtual Beer Tasting with “Beer Knight” Guy McClelland of McClelland Premium Imports which takes place July 21, 2020, at 6:00 pm. Participation to the celebration gives you the full experience of savouring delicious Belgian beers and learning about their particular qualities and characteristics: flavour, aroma and mouthfeel. Additional details are posted in the link below. We are counting on a strong participation on your part to help us mark the Belgian National Holiday, but also because these activities allow us to sustain the Belgian Chamber.

When the time comes to discuss the challenges of the recovery plans and the opportunities these might represent for our community, we shall be sure to highlight, through our activities, all the opportunities that might be available for our members on the Belgian-Canadian axis.
We look forward to seeing you again as soon as the situation permits.

Stay healthy and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Warm Regards, Xavier Van Overmeire, BCBC President

Available for pick up in the High Park area (from July 18, 2020 at 2 PM) or delivery upon request. Please contact Idalia ~ idalia@belgiumconnect.com / 416.816.9154 for delivery options. Registration will close on Tuesday July 14, 2020 at 9 PM to ensure delivery.

Get your tickets here

The BCBC Directors are thinking of you

Dear BCBC Partners and Members, Dear Friends of the BCBC, 

The present confinement has allowed us to discover the extent to which, though we may come from different cultures and nationalities, we share a common humanity. On either side of the Atlantic, we all ran out of toilet paper more or less at the same time, many of us began making our own bread, while others decided to improve on their culinary talents; is this not indeed, proof of this share humanity?

On this note, the BCBC and some of its directors have accepted the challenge to share some of their culinary talents with you; hence, from cocktail to dessert the BCBC will set the table.Dear Chamber members, partners and friends, our thoughts are with you in this difficult period; as such, we ardently hope that these few videos will provide you with some ideas to brighten these challenging times. All will be well again! There is real hope for the lifting of the confinement measures shortly, for a sunny summer, for the crisis to prove to be less than expected, and for a vaccine for this fall. 

With warmest regards, Xavier Van Overmeire, BCBC President

Click on the links below to see the videos.

“Meatballs in a Belgian Endive Sauce”“Belgian Guacamole”
By Anne Popoff, Vice-President and Director Events
Video
By Christian Frayssignes, Director, Advisor and EUCCAN Representative
Video
“Confinement Drink”“Authentic Belgian Fries”
By Martin Cloutier, Vice-President
Video
By Michelle Willer, Director Partnerships
Video
“Paris-Brest”And what are you cooking?
By Philippe Gonzalez,
Director Corporate and Individual Memberships
Video
Share your dishes with us!
Enter a video of your fave recipe on social media tagging us @belgiumconnect as well as #BCBCRecipeChallenge 
Best video wins chocolates from The Belgian Chocolate Shop !

The BCBC & Partners are thinking of you

Dear BCBC Partners and Members, Friends of the BCBC,

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, our lives have been turned upside down. Several aspects of our lives suddenly seem insignificant. The Raptors, the Maple Leafs or the Toronto Blue Jays are no longer a subject of conversation. We are suddenly facing issues that are much more serious than who won last night’s game. Our economy, which we considered strong a few weeks ago, is in danger of collapsing. The closing of our borders and the confinement measures require us to adapt our daily lives to the requirements of this new status quo. 

On the other hand, today’s situation has given us an opportunity to discover how powerful and resilient we are as a community and how humanity is able to quickly adapt to this new way of life. International cooperation is strong and new information technology is being used to support, and even save, lives in a way we have never witnessed before. 

The BCBC is at the heart of exchanges, cooperation and mutual aid, particularly between Europe and Canada. We will make sure to check in with our members and network and circulate any message that is directly or indirectly related to the pandemic and which we think could be helpful to you, our community members. As of now, you may find at the end of my message some resources provided by our partners that I hope you will find useful. 

Moreover, if you have come across any articles, videos or announcements that could be of interest or help to our members at this time, please do not hesitate to forward them to our Director Michelle Willer (Michelle.Willer@BelgiumConnect.com), who will make sure everyone can benefit from them. 

As a business network where mutual assistance is one of the key values, we are as ever at your disposal to assist. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you – and stay healthy!

Sincerely, 

Xavier Van Overmeire, BCBC President

SHARING SOME RELEVANT INFORMATION

As mentioned above, you can find herein some relevant resources and information that our partners have generously shared with us. Do not hesitate to come back to us with additional relevant information to be shared with the BCBC community. 

  • CIBC: Covid19 – Economic Perspective audiocast with Bejamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist, CIBC Capital Markets. To access the audio cast: call 905-694-9451 and enter passcode 5635832# (in English, audiocast aired on March 30th, 2020).

BCBC Partners & Sponsors

Important Message from the BCBC President

Dear BCBC Partners and Members,

Dear Friends of the BCBC,

We are facing a major global situation – a pandemic caused by COVID 19 virus.  As a result, and with a view to safeguarding  public health, we cannot maintain the BCBC events initially scheduled between now and  May 1. We regret this very much. Rest assured that your health, as well as the health of all our Partners and Members is essential. Therefore, we cannot take any risks in jeopardising your health.

BCBC will inform you of the new dates for its events.

As a business network where mutual assistance is one of the essential values,  we are as ever at your disposal to assist.  Please do not hesitate to contact us, should you have any questions.

Xavier Van Overmeire, President BCBC

ArcoInfo, our newest Bronze Corporate Member

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ArcoInfo Inc. is proud to be a Bronze Sponsor of continuing professional education at the movies…

Launched by Hot Docs in association with UDocs, Hot Docs for Continuing Professional Education is an edutainment initiative that provides accredited continuing professional education (CPE/CPD) featuring engaging documentaries as case studies. All films are followed by comprehensive post-screening panel discussions with leading experts, scholars and practitioners which are accredited as CPE/CPD by various professional organizations.

Upcoming Events Sponsored by ArcoInfo:
Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz
January 16, 6:30 PMAfter the Holocaust camps were liberated, Ferencz became a lead prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials. He prosecuted 22 Einsatzgruppen Nazis responsible for murdering over a million Jews. How philosophy of Law can pervert a Legal system. Get your tickets here.
Collared
February 20, 6:30 PMTo this day, Joseph Grmovsek remains the only Canadian to ever be criminally convicted and serve a federal prison sentence for insider trading…insight into the world of white-collar crime while revealing the grave and often unforeseen consequences that can flow from professional misconduct and ethical breaches. A Case Study of White Collar Crime & Ethical Decision Making. Get tickets here.

Christmas message from our President, Xavier Van Overmeire

Dearest members of the BCBC,

With 2019 coming to an end, I would like to take this as an opportunity to reflect on this year’s highlights.

The BCBC organized multiple networking events and presentations related to business involving Belgian-Canadian relations. First, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Canada and the Delegation of the European Union to Canada celebrated CETA’s second year since its provisional implementation in an event which featured keynote speeches by Peteris Ustubs, Ambassador of the European Union to Canada, Michael Thompson, Deputy Mayor of City of Toronto and Head of Economic Committee and Stephen W. Green, Labour Mobility Expert and Senior Partner at Green and Spiegel.

The BCBC also organized a presentation on the subject of economic challenges facing the new federal government with Craig Alexander, Partner & Chief Economist at Deloitte Canada as keynote speaker. The talk was followed by a Belgian beer tasting with internationally-renowned beer expert Stephen Beaumont.

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BCBC’s Saint Nicolas Raffle

Thank you for your donations! we are able to help one more year the great work Dr. Luc Mertens does at the Echocardiography Lab at SickKids. D. Mertens is originally from Belgium, and a BCBC member.

And the winners of BCBC’s Saint Nicolas raffle are:

  • Grand Prize – One return plane ticket “Premium Economy” from Toronto to anywhere in Europe! graciously offered by Lufthansa – Winner: Dominique Janssens
  • $500 voucher from Trafalgar Travel Agency – Winner: Yannick Charette
  • One suitcase also from Trafalgar Travel Agency – Winner: Genevieve Brouyaux
  • One Chocolates from The Belgian Chocolate Shop (500 gr) – Winner: Xavier Van Overmeire
  • One box of Chocolates from The Belgian Chocolate Shop (250 gr) – Winner: Lambert Boenders
  • One box of Chocolates from The Belgian Chocolate Shop (250 gr) – Winner: Philippe Gonzalez
  • Tickets for performances from Alliance Française: Concert of pop / folk band Odezenne on December 10th at 8pm – Winner: Christian Frayssignes
  • Tickets for performances from Alliance Française – Concert Oktopus group, January 24 at 8pm – Winner: Brigitte Paquay
  • Tickets for performances from Alliance Française Theatre “Play Scenario” on February 7, at 8pm – Winner: Philippe Gonzalez
  • Tickets for performances from Théatre Français de Toronto: Gift certificate (2 tickets) for the 2019/2020 season for a public show – Winner: Jacques Castiaux
  • Tickets for performances from Théatre Français de Toronto: A “family” gift certificate for a children’s show – Winner: Joel Mandelbaum
  • One free ticket for the BCBC 4th Annual Wine Tasting and Membership Drive (valued at $100) (includes a one year individual membership to the BCBC and free entry to the Wine Tasting) on January 29, 2020. – Winner: Jose Ramón Gutiérrez-Fabres

Click here for BCBC’s Saint Nicolas events in previous years.

Invest in Europe!

At a breakfast meeting of the Belgian Canadian Business Chamber (BCBC) Business with Belgium Seminar Series on November 28, Gilles Brédas, Economic and Commercial Counselor, Consulate General of Belgium in Toronto outlined how his homeland is an ideal place for Canadian exporters, importers and investors to leverage the benefits of the recently signed Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA).

Thanks to its location at the heart of Europe, its capital city Brussels is the home of the European Council and the European Parliament as well as NATO headquarters. That helps make it is truly a global city since it also hosts more international organizations than Washington DC and almost as many embassies as New York, home of the United Nations. 

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