OTTAWA – November 1, 2016 – On Sunday, Canada and the European Union signed a free trade agreement aimed at boosting trade and generating growth. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will enable Ottawa companies to export to the EU like never before as 98 per cent of tariff lines will be eliminated right away on goods that originate in Canada, a further one per cent will be eliminated over a period of up to seven years. This represents a significant competitive advantage for Ottawa companies over exporters still facing EU tariffs.
Although the United States is still Canada’s largest trading partner, the CETA agreement will give Canadians a much needed exporting boost in Europe that will ultimately stimulate investment opportunities. “While the States will always be an important trade partner for Canada,” said Blair Patacairk, Managing Director, Investment and Trade for Invest Ottawa, “CETA provides the opportunity for our companies to expand or create new markets in the EU. We have always considered the EU a priority market for our outbound investment attraction and trade activities and CETA will expand our value proposition.”
“As an international exporter, selling into over 100 countries a year, we like to be as local as possible in the markets we serve,” said Dave Ross, CEO, Ross Video and co-chair of Invest Ottawa’s Investment and Trade Sub-Committee. “Even with opening offices and hiring sales and support staff in Europe, we still can’t complete that feeling of being local if we have to add all manner of import duties and complex administrative processes to sell there. Certainly, the companies based in Europe don’t have those hurdles and they will take advantage of that advantage.”
Ross adds “There are 28 countries in the EU. With this deal, we get cleaner access to 28 countries, and they get access to just one, Canada. If Canadian companies are doing it right, this is a trade deal wildly in favour of Canadians.”
In addition to trade facilitation, CETA also includes provisions that address labour mobility and temporary entry as well as access to government procurement opportunities in EU regions and municipalities. “This helps level the playing field amongst the countries that already have trade agreements in place with the EU,” Mr. Patacairk added. “There is fierce competition around the world, as it relates to investment and trade. CETA provides a door to walk through to compete with the best in the world.”
When CETA comes into force, Canada will be one of the few countries in the world to have guaranteed preferential access to the world’s two largest economies – the US and the EU – providing Ottawa companies a significant advantage over international competitors.
Public Relations Strategist