CETA – Canada’s trade with Europe one year later, by Christian Siviere

CETA – Canada’s trade with Europe one year later

It’s a great tool for Canadian businesses to expand their export markets as well as their supplier base

Signed in October 2016, CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union has now been in effect a year, as it was provisionally implemented on September 21st, 2017.

Most of its provisions are in effect since that date, particularly the reduction of tariffs or Customs duties, the opening of government procurement, the mutual recognition of standards and the facilitation of the movement of professionals. It’s a great tool for Canadian businesses to expand their export markets as well as their supplier base, thereby lessening our dependence on the United States.

While its overall impact, particularly on services and investment is hard to measure at this relatively early stage, looking at our statistics on the trade of goods with the EU should tell us how popular CETA is with Canadian exporters. There are different ways to calculate exports but the figures commonly quoted by Global Affairs Canada indicate European exporters have been faster than us, as up to July 2018, Canadian exports to the EU have grown by a mere one per cent while our imports from the EU have increased by a whopping 12 per cent.

Of course, Canadian businesses have their eyes riveted on what’s happening with NAFTA, since so much of our trade is with the U.S. and this explains why they have not yet rushed to the conquest of the European market. Ironically, for European businesses, the Canadian market is small but still has good potential, as we are so close to the huge U.S. market.

Whatever the reason for the current imbalance, it is interesting to look at what’s happening at the individual country level. Canadian exports to the UK, by far our first European market, were down three per cent, as we exported $15.240 billion worth of goods there from September 2017 to July 2018, compared to $15.789 the year before. Exports to our third European market, France, were down eight per cent from $3.085 billion to $2.827 billion and to Belgium down five per cent from $2.674 billion to $2.537 billion.

On the plus side of the ledger, exports to our second European market, Germany, were up six per cent, from $3.358 billion to $3.556 billion. Exports to the Netherlands were up 23 per cent from $2.420 billion to $2.965 billion, and those to Italy climbed by 19 per cent from $2.120 billion to $2.536 billion.

Canadian exports with notable growth included aluminum, automobile parts, chemicals, cranberries, and maple syrup. Most of these products are exported by ocean and the Port of Montréal, Canada’s gateway to Europe, reported a four per cent growth in its European container traffic from January to August 2018 versus the same period in 2017.

As to CETA’s final implementation, twelve European countries out of 28 have ratified it, the latest one being Austria in June 2018. The process continues, albeit slowly. Its only provisions that are pending final ratification of all EU member parliaments concern investor-state dispute settlement and portfolio investment.

Meantime, trade remains wide open under CETA’s provisional implementation and our exporters should bring Europe closer to the top of their agenda.

Business with Belgium ~ It’s all about CETA

The Belgian Canadian Business Chamber together with the Canadian International Council (CIC) and the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) brought together numerous experts to for a session on “It’s all about CETA” on May 18th, 2018

Pasquale Madonna, senior consultant, Trade & Customs practice KPMG led off with an update on increased second -generation, public-sector contract deals under CETA. In the past, sales of goods, projects and services to all three levels of government were subject to local content rules that discouraged or excluded foreign bidders. CETA has eliminated most of those barriers.  Smaller contracts are still set aside for local suppliers.

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CETA: Canada’s Free Trade Agreement with the European Union

Prime Minister Trudeau inked Canada’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA)—known as CETA—with the European Union in Brussels in October 2016

Businessmen Shaking Hands with Canadian Flag

Prime Minister Trudeau inked Canada’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union in Brussels on October 30, 2016. It is often referred to as CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement).

CETA was several years in the making, as negotiations were launched in May 2009. The next steps now are approval by the European Parliament in Strasbourg, followed by ratification by the 28 national parliaments of EU member countries and some regional parliaments as well.

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EU and Canada signed CETA

After the Belgian government managed successfully to get Wallonia on board, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) sets high standards for global trade.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Council President Donald Tusk signed two landmark agreements: the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) during the European Union-Canada Leaders’ Summit in Brussels, Belgium.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement will generate economic growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic and reflects both sides’ commitment to free, fair and progressive trade, for the benefit of nearly 550 million EU and Canadian citizens. A Joint interpretative instrument, which further explains and clarifies the provisions of CETA was also adopted by the leaders, and an agreement was reached to work jointly towards the establishment of an independent and impartial multilateral investment court.
The signature of the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) lays the foundations for the further strengthening of political dialogue and cooperation between the European Union and Canada. The Agreement will institutionalise and enrich the partnership across a wide range of areas, from foreign and security policy to research and innovation; and from tackling climate change and terrorism to working together in the fields of development cooperation and consular protection.

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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 Continue reading

Thank you 2016

Dear Members and Friends,

As 2016 comes to a close, I have the pleasure to share with you the highlights of a very busy and successful year for the BCBC. For the second year in a row, we have held a significant number of high-caliber events, and have continued to build on new initiatives to serve you better.

We have added a partnership with CHOQ-FM/GrandToronto.ca and Aline Ayoub HR to those signed previously with the Alliance Française, CanCham BeLux, and MTFX, and we are exploring several others as well.

2016 has been a tumultuous year for Belgians worldwide, and in Toronto in particular. It began with some great news, as just before the New Year, Brussels Airlines announced that they would be launching a new direct flight between Brussels and Toronto; they further approached the BCBC to help with the promotion of this new flight, beginning with an Executive Luncheon in January. We continued to work closely with Brussels Airlines in anticipated March 27th launch of this new service.

Alas, as we all know, March 22nd was a dark day for Belgians as Brussels was the target of coordinated terrorist attacks striking Brussels Airport and the Maelbeek metro station in downtown Brussels. That evening, the BCBC organized a press conference and candlelight vigil at Nathan Phillips Square during which we shared statements from H.E. Raoul Delcorde and ourselves, followed by Mayor John Tory sharing a few words of his own; we are particularly grateful to Mayor Tory for having taken time away from the memorial for his predecessor, Rob Ford, which took place simultaneously at City Hall. The following week, our media partner, CHOQ-FM, provided members of our community with the opportunity to reflect on these atrocities and what it means for Belgians, both at home and abroad.

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Business with Belgium, April 29, 2016

Christian Frayssignes, Vice-President, Belgian Canadian Business Chamber set the overall tone for the Business with Belgium seminar by reminding attendees that as a small, stable and geographically strategic marketplace, Belgium is an ideal entry point for Canadian exporters to expand into the European Union.

In her brief comments on how the EU functions, Nadiya Nychay, Partner, Dentons Europe LLP, explained that the European Union consists of 28 member countries, 19 of which share a common currency, the Euro and is home to 500 million consumers. Unlike NAFTA, the EU is a customs union with an integrated system of trade and business regulations. However, individual member states still have their own legislation regarding areas over which they hold domestic competency.

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Regarding the topic of choosing a strategy for expanding into Europe, Xavier Van Overmeire, Regional Head of the International Trade Group, Dentons Canada LLP suggested three basic approaches  — direct representation through distributors or agents, licensing technology or formal partnerships. Each brings with it various legal challenges, which can be further complicated by the European civil law regime, similar to the one used in Quebec. It is different from the English common-law tradition found in the rest of Canada. Continue reading