Werner's Blog — Opinion, Analysis, Commentary
Welcome to CETA!

At long last, Canada and the European Union completed the negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that opens the door to free trade between the E.U. and Canada. After NAFTA, CETA will be the second-most important free trade agreement that Canada has entered into. Canada has free trade agreements with numerous other countries, but the amount of trade they cover is still quite small. Congratulations are due to all the CETA negotiators who have made it happen. Prime Minister Harper, who announced the conclusion of CETA negotiations on October 18 of this year, can be proud of the accomplishments of his neegotiation team.

‘After NAFTA, CETA will be the second-most important free trade agreement that Canada has entered into.’

CETA covers new ground. In addition to opening the door to free trade, it also harmonizes provisions on intellectual property rights, and it allows Canadian and EU firms to bid competitively on public projects. For this purpose, the provinces had to be brought into the negotiations as they had to agree to the new provisions.

A few thorny issues held up progress on CETA for a long time. Essentially, European beef farmers feared competition from Albertan beef farmers, and Canadian dairy farmers feared competition from European dairy farmers. The CBC has a nice feature on their web site 5 ways the Canada-EU trade deal will impact Canadians that summarizes the key points. More trade with the EU means cheaper goods. Canadian beef farmers (mostly from Alberta) gain access to EU markets worth perhas a billion dollars. Canadians will earn a reprieve from Canada's outdated dairy supply management system by being able to import up to 29,000 tonnes of cheese (roughly double the previous quota). There are some concerns that patent harmonization (an increase in patent length from 18 to 20 years) will mostly benefit EU pharmaceutical producers, but this remains to be seen. Lastly, provincial and municipal contracts will now become more competitive, at least for the "high-value" contracts (mostly infrastructure projects).

For some statistics on Canada-EU trade, see Canada Trade on the Euroopean Commission web site, as well as the PDF file European Union, Trade in goods with Canada. European imports from Canada are dominated by metals and minerals, as well as some machinery. Canadian imports from Europes are dominated by machinery and appliances, transport equipment, and chemicals and related products. Agricultural goods account for under 10% of exports and imports on both sides.

Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 17:31 — #Trade
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