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CETA turns 1: Canadian exporters have reason to celebrate

Happy birthday, CETA!

This September 21, 2018, marks the one‑year anniversary that the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, has been in effect. Already, Canadian exporters across sectors have been taking their first steps towards experiencing the extensive benefits this young, progressive free‑trade agreement has to offer—particularly small‑ and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs) and those owned by women, Indigenous people and youth.

Augmented by nationwide promotional efforts undertaken by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) alongside its national, provincial and municipal partners, Canada’s exports to the European Union (EU) have seen a steady rise in the past year, thanks to enhanced market access and the elimination of 98% of tariff lines to the EU, as afforded by CETA.

The TCS-run CETA website has seen over 281,000 visitors, social media has registered close to 20,000 engagements, and the new online tool, Canada Tariff Finder (developed in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC) and Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)) has been used almost 10,000 times to assist exporters in verifying tariff information for their desired export market.

The Port of Montreal has already noticed an increased number of containers destined for ports in the EU. It, along with the Port of Halifax, has ramped up operations thanks to a new Maersk express freight service to the Mediterranean. Maersk, based in Denmark, is the world’s largest container shipping company.

This service is certainly making waves for exporters of high‑quality Canadian food and agricultural products to the EU. On September 21st, 2017 a number of products benefited from significant drops in tariffs including pulses, dried cranberries, maple syrup (of course!), and fresh lobster which saw its tariff drop from 8% to 0%.

CETA is particularly important for Canadian exporters of consumer products, such as Quebec‑based Quartz Co., whose premium down jackets are a hot sell and considerably more competitive in the EU now that they enter tariff‑free. The previous 12% tariff they faced was nixed overnight.

Airlines are also increasing service to the EU. Air Canada, for example,  recently announced additional non‑stop service to Dublin and Shannon, Ireland, citing increased corporate travel in response to enhanced access to EU public/government procurement opportunities on the Emerald Isle and beyond.

Canadians have better access than ever to all levels of government procurement tenders in the EU, from installing playground equipment in Portugal to wind turbines in Estonia. Check out EU calls for tenders on Tenders Electronic Daily.

Canadian companies exporting services also stand to benefit from the now one year old agreement. The EU is the largest importer of services in the world, and with CETA, the EU treats Canadian service suppliers no less favourably than it treats service suppliers from its existing or future free trade agreement partners.

Progress is also being made to implement CETA’s framework provisions on mutual recognition of foreign qualifications in specific sectors, starting with engineers.

If you, too, want a slice of the EU marketplace, CETA provides a stable and predictable environment for your business in the world’s largest integrated economy. With its more than 510 million consumers, you are bound to find your niche. Moreover, the TCS is here to help. We have 28 offices in the EU who know the ins and outs of each market, ready to proffer advice and help you make the connections you need to succeed.

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