President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA).
The deal will benefit exporters, big and small, creating opportunities for European and Canadian companies and their employees, as well as for consumers. Almost all – 99 percent – of import duties will be eliminated, saving European exporters of industrial goods and agricultural products more than €500 million a year. As the EU’s most advanced and progressive trade agreement to date, CETA is a landmark accord that sets the benchmark for future agreements. It includes the most ambitious chapters on sustainable development, labour and the environment ever agreed upon in bilateral trade agreements. CETA will not solely help boost trade and economic activity, but also promote and protect shared values.
European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “This is how we can shape globalisation – through progressive, state-of-the-art trade agreements that uphold our values and set new standards for global commerce. Through our agreement with Canada, we build a bridge to one of our closest allies, making a real impact for our exporters, entrepreneurs and employees. Trade simply works, and we know it from experience. When we get rid of unnecessary costs and overlapping bureaucracy, companies will try out new markets and hire more people.”
CETA will also end limitations in access to public procurement, making it possible for EU firms to bid for public contracts – at the federal level as well as in Canada’s provinces, regions and cities. CETA will open up the services market, making it easier for professionals such as engineers, accountants and architects to work in Canada. Canada also recognises the special status of the EU’s Geographical Indications, agreeing to protect a list of more than 140 European goods in Canada, such as Prosciutto di Parma and Schwarzwälder Schinken. A range of goods will have fewer administrative hurdles to jump, avoiding double-testing on both sides of the Atlantic, benefitting smaller companies in particular.