On Monday, February 29th, The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, and Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, released a statement announcing that that the legal review of the english (primary) version of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union has been completed.
Global Affairs Canada (GAC) – formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) – has released the statement, noting amendments to the investment chapter. In particular, there is now stronger language on governments’ right to regulate, and the previously planned ad-hoc arbitration system has been replaced with a permanent, institutionalized dispute resolution tribunal, whose members will be appointed in advance and bound by a strict set of ethics regulations. There are also now provisions for an appeals system in place.
The European Commission’s Audiovisual Service, EbS News, has also posted footage of a brief press conference, during which Commissioner Malmström notes that this breakthrough is “a good sign that we can cooperate and we have listend to the concerns, and we have now finalized the agreement.” She further stated that “CETA is a very good agreement” which offers “companies improved business conditions to support jobs and facilitate trade.”
According to Commissioner Malmström, CETA will remove 99% of customs duties, which will lead to tariff savings alone of € 407 million (approximately Cdn$ 600 million).