CETA to come into effect this week
The flagship EU-Canada trade deal is due to come into force this week, following seven years of talks.
Justin Trudeau | Photo credit: Press Association
The flagship agreement, which is expected to increase trade between the EU and Canada by €26 billion per year, finally comes into effect later this week.
Following seven years of negotiations, the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) will provisionally enter into force on Thursday.
The EU is already Canada’s second most important trading partner. The EU-Canada trade deal will further enhance trade and investment flows on both sides of the Atlantic.
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CETA will be fully implemented once the parliaments in all member states ratify the deal according to their respective domestic constitutional requirements.
The agreement was almost derailed earlier this year when the Walloon regional parliament in Belgium refused to approve it. Consequently certain elements, such as investment protection, will not be applied until ratified by all national and regional parliaments.
Last week European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced in his State of the Union speech that future trade deals would be structured in such a way as to only require ratification by MEPs.
MEPs from various groups welcomed the introduction of CETA.
Artis Pabriks, the Latvian deputy who steered CETA through the Parliament, said, “The deal marks a milestone in EU-Canada relations and the EU's trade policy. The agreement is the most advanced economic and trade treaty negotiated by the EU and it enhances the best practices from both sides, the EU and our close ally Canada.”
In the current international climate, he said the agreement “has underpinned Europe's leading position on trade and gives a strong common answer to Donald Trump's anti-trade policy.”
He added, “In times of growing protectionism worldwide, we are proving to be the leaders of a global trade that is based on our rules and high standards. This is a new chapter for the future of the EU and its trade policy.”
Latvia was the first member state to ratify the free trade deal following the approval of CETA by the European Parliament in Strasbourg in February 2017.
Pabriks noted, “As of tomorrow, CETA will bring immediate benefits and will allow European businesses, SMEs and consumers across Europe reap the benefits of this trade agreement, overturning the misleading populist rhetoric used by some political groups and trade sceptics.
“CETA will boost economic growth and will create more jobs. Therefore, let us all continue working on strong trading partnerships.”
Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Parliament’s EPP group spokesperson in the international trade committee, believes that Europe and Canada are “leading the way to shaping and harnessing globalisation.”
She said, “We share the same values - so we open up to each other, to the benefit of consumers and businesses. CETA is the most advanced and modern free trade agreement today and its entry-into-force marks a new chapter in the transatlantic relationship.”
David Campbell-Bannerman, who was Parliament’s ECR group shadow rapporteur on the deal, said, “CETA removes approximately 99 per cent of tariffs on trade between the EU and Canada and tomorrow our producers, businesses and consumers will finally begin to enjoy the benefits.
“The majority of customs duties will disappear from foodstuffs, including processed foods, and drinks. At the same time, CETA protects sensitive European agricultural sectors by introducing quotas on products such as beef and pork.”
His group colleague Emma McClarkin said, “To stimulate economic growth and jobs Europe must embrace free trade. CETA will be a success story and I am confident it is going to set the standard for future trade deals.”
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