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.