CETA in force!

CETA comes into force today, 21-Sep-2017

If you are unfa­mil­i­ar with CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, this ground­break­ing trade agree­ment between Canada and the European Union will be a game-​changer for Canada. Until today, the actu­al date for imple­ment­a­tion of the agree­ment has been a mov­ing tar­get. There were at least two pre­vi­ous dates announced by the Canadian gov­ern­ment, but each time the dates passed without the agree­ment com­ing into force due to issues that needed to be resolved.

So what does this mean for Canadians? As of today, 98% of Canadian products can now enter into the EU tariff-​free. Within two years, 99% of products will be tariff-​free. The agree­ment embod­ies much of what the EU sys­tem is based upon: Four pil­lars of free­dom are entrenched in the agreement.

The Four Pillars include the free­dom of move­ment of people, goods, ser­vices and cap­it­al. This philo­sophy has brought sig­ni­fic­ant prosper­ity and free­dom to European cit­izens. Within the“Schengen Area”, EU cit­izens can move freely across nation­al bor­ders without passing through cus­toms, in a very sim­il­ar way to Canadians mov­ing from Province to Province. EU cit­izens can work in any Schengen coun­try without the need for work­ing visas or cit­izen­ship in the new coun­try they have chosen. Similar freedoms exist for goods, ser­vices and money.

Under CETA, sim­il­ar freedoms are avail­able to Canadians, although with some restric­tions since CETA does not mean that Canada is now an EU Member State. Goods can flow from Canada to the EU, and from the EU to Canada without tar­iff restric­tions, except in some lim­ited cases. Businesses who want to set up oper­a­tions in the EU can do this with lim­ited restric­tions, and Canadian pro­fes­sion­al work­ers can move to the EU to staff these new oper­a­tions without the need for restrict­ive work visas. Investment in EU oper­a­tions has gained pro­tec­tions through EU law so that these invest­ments are bet­ter pro­tec­ted. Canadian ser­vice busi­nesses can now provide their ser­vice products to EU cus­tom­ers with little restric­tion. Canadian busi­ness now has free access to a mar­ket­place of 500 mil­lion new cus­tom­ers, nearly 14 times lar­ger than the Canadian mar­ket. The EU mar­ket is worth nearly €2.4 tril­lion in exports alone. This is an oppor­tun­ity Canadians can’t afford to miss.

With the instabil­ity being cre­ated by the cur­rent US admin­is­tra­tion and the bully tac­tics that are being used to force the rene­go­ti­ation of NAFTA, Canadian busi­ness should take the oppor­tun­ity presen­ted to us today to turn our eyes to the EU, a uni­on of coun­tries who are open and friendly to Canadians. People who want to work with us, who want our products and ser­vices. Many Canadians sup­port scrap­ping NAFTA if key pro­vi­sions can’t be met.

For more inform­a­tion on CETA and what it will mean for Canadians, please see Doing Business in Europe — CETA: Canada and the European Union Usher In a New Era of Trade.

21-​September-​2017 is a day to cel­eb­rate. The future looks bright!