BWB – Business with Belgium Dec 6, 2016

To open the information session at Toronto’s Alliance Française Theatre on December 6, André van der Heyden, VP & COO, Belgian Canadian Business Chamber delivered a brief welcoming statement from H.E. Raoul Delcorde, Ambassador of Belgium to Canada. Click here to see the full statement: message-from-he-delcorde-docx.

Click here for the Agenda: 2016-12-06-bwb-draft-agenda.

Despite recent news stories about the uncertain future of world trade, Joy Nott, President, Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters Inc. (IE Canada), stressed that Canadian exporters must continue developing their strategies to leverage the opportunities arising from CETA (Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement) with the European Union and its affluent consumers. Click here for Joy Nott’s presentation: belgium-joy-nott

Belgium offers an ideal entry point thanks to its extensive road and railroad networks, major airports and various modern ports including Ghent, Osten, Antwerp and Zeebrugge.

In the other direction, Canada offers similar advantages for European products destined for the NAFTA market.

In his comments, Robert Sacco, KPMG GTA Trade & Customs Leader in Toronto pointed out that the upcoming ratification stage of the signed CETA treaty requires individual member states to indicate their support for trade categories over which they have competence. Although this may prolong the process, it is unlikely to prevent ratification.

By lowering or even eliminating tariffs on Canada food exports, CETA is expected to benefit Canadian exporters especially those selling cheese and fresh seafood. In the other direction, among other things, the agreement will eliminate the existing 18 per cent duty on European-made men suits entering Canada.

Sacco is optimistic about Canada become a friendly distribution hub for European products entering the entire other NAFTA market.

Regarding the impact of the recent Brexit vote in which the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union, Sacco reassured the audience that the UK will remain a EU member for at least two more years. Click here to see Bob Sacco’s presentation: bob-sacco-belgiumpresentation-ftas-and-ceta

Master of Ceremonies, Christian Frayssignes, VP, Belgian Canadian Business Chamber and EUCCAN – European Union Chamber of Commerce in Canada referred to a recent book, The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU: An Overview written by Xavier Van Overmeire, Regional Director, International Trade, Dentons. It highlights the need for both Canadian and European exporters to pay special attention to the regulatory frameworks in the two markets, especially those regarding the rules of origin which affect the eligibility and the duty rate of products entering the respective markets and hence their selling prices. In addition, the EU also has stiffer environmental regulations especially those related to genetically-modified organisms (GMO) in food products. In addition, manufacturers and sellers face also greater scrutiny regarding the end-of-life disposal of their products. Click here for Xavier Van Overmeire’s presentation: presentation-du-6-decembre-2016-bcbc-xavier-vo

In addition, the book also alerts EU exporters to the existence of interprovincial trade barriers regarding the sale of products within Canada’s various provinces. In contrast, among the current 28 EU member states, once imported goods enter one member state, they can move freely within the entire EU community.

Gilles Brédas, Trade Commissioner, Consulate of Belgium Brussels Invest & Export reminded the audience that Brussels, besides being the EU’s nerve centre as the site for the European Commission, the European Council and the European Economic and Social Committee as well as NATO Headquarters. In addition, more than 2,000 major corporations have set up head, regional or sales offices there to serve the needs of both public- as well as private-sector clients and customers. Click here for Gilles Brédas’ presentation: belgium-springboard-to-europev3-gilles-bredas

The Belgian-Canadian Business Chamber concluded the evening with a St. Nicholas Fundraiser for Sick Kids Hospital.

 

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