CETA in force!

Image with the Canadian and EU flags blending together.

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!

Author: Doug Nix

Doug Nix is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Compliance InSight Consulting, Inc. (http://www.complianceinsight.ca) in Kitchener, Ontario, and is Lead Author and Senior Editor of the Machinery Safety 101 blog. Doug's work includes teaching machinery risk assessment techniques privately and through Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ontario, as well as providing technical services and training programs to clients related to risk assessment, industrial machinery safety, safety-related control system integration and reliability, laser safety and regulatory conformity. For more see Doug's LinkedIn profile.