Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that Canada and the European Union (EU) have reached an agreement in principle on a comprehensive trade agreement that will significantly boost trade and investment ties between the two partners, and create jobs and opportunities for Canadians.
This is the biggest, most ambitious trade agreement that Canada has ever reached. It covers most aspects of the Canada-EU bilateral economic relationship, including trade in goods and services, investment, and government procurement. It also grants the flexibility to include areas of mutual interest beyond those that have traditionally been included in Canada's trade agreements, such as regulatory cooperation.
“This trade agreement is an historic win for Canada,” said Prime Minister Harper. “It represents thousands of new jobs for Canadians, and a half-billion new customers for Canadian businesses.”
The Agreement will provide Canada with preferential market access to the European Union’s more than 500 million consumers. Canadian workers in every region of the country - including in sectors such as fish and seafood; chemicals and plastics; metal and mineral products; technology; forestry and value-added wood products; automotive; advanced manufacturing; and agriculture and agri-food - stand to benefit significantly from increased access to this lucrative 28 country market which currently generates $17 trillion in annual economic activity.
The elimination of approximately 98 per cent of all EU tariff lines on the first day of when the Agreement comes into force will translate into increased profits and market opportunities for Canadian businesses of all sizes, in every part of the country. For example, the elimination of EU tariffs in the agricultural sector and the fish and seafood sector will mean that lobster fishermen in the Maritimes, maple syrup producers in Québec, apple growers in Ontario, grain producers in the prairies, cherry growers in British Columbia and arctic char farmers in the Yukon who export to the EU will see their bottom lines improve.
The trade negotiations with the European Union on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement are the most transparent and collaborative trade negotiations Canada has ever conducted. From the outset, provinces and territories have been active participants, and municipalities and stakeholders from across the country from a variety of sectors have been consulted regularly. Input from the general public has also been sought, including as early as December 20, 2008, in the Canada Gazette. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s website has also been open to consultations from Canadians at all times throughout the negotiations.
“Businesses, provinces and territories have been crucial partners in reaching this point in the negotiation,” added the Prime Minister. “That is why we have been able to deliver on our commitment to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of Canadians.”
Now that an agreement in principle has been reached, both parties will seek to conclude the formal agreement and undertake a legal review of the document. Once the final agreement is signed, it will then need to be ratified by respective parliaments.