Today the EU signed off on the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). The agreement provides for duty-free trade between Canada and the EU (for 98% of industrial products) and offers agricultural producers additional market access. One of the holdups was that Belgian farmers did not want more competition from Canadian dairy products, you know the ones we pay more for than our American neighbors! The Conference Board research estimates that elimination of EU tariffs will lead to $1.4 billion more in exports in 2023. We currently have trade deficits (2015) with Germany: -$10.7 billion, Italy: -$4.0 billion and France: -$2.9 billion. With Belgium we enjoy a $614.4 million surplus. Most EU Countries have been trading with Canada under the MFN (“Most-Favoured-Nation Tariff”) status and, as such, many goods have, up till now, entered Canada tariff free. http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/trade-commerce/tariff-tarif/2016/01-99/01-99-t2016-3-eng.pdf
The EU and Canada have agreed to scrap 100% of tariff’s on industrial and fisheries products. With regards to agricultural products, the EU and Canada will eliminate 93.8% and 91.7% of tariff’s respectively. Some agricultural products seen as “sensitive” (e.g. eggs or chicken and turkey meat) are not covered by CETA, while for some others (e.g. beef ) duty-free access will only be granted for limited quantities. CETA does not prevent the EU and Canada from keeping a number of regulatory and licensing requirements in place it’s comprised of 600,000 pages of rules and exceptions!
According to a Canadian Government presentation; CETA will create jobs, open new markets and unlock new opportunities in Europe for the benefit of Canadian workers and businesses in every region of our country. It is equivalent to creating almost 80,000 new jobs or increasing the average Canadian household’s annual income by $1,000. This will directly benefit hard-working Canadians through more jobs, higher wages and greater long-term prosperity. http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/assets/pdfs/ceta-aecg/final_sectors_content-eng_v11.pdf
So what will CETA’s impact be on you, the average Canadian consumer?
Will the price of French, German and Italian wine go down at your Provincial outlet? The deal is said that it will chip away at a trade barrier that currently protects Ontario wines and hard liquor, ultimately making European booze less expensive. Don’t hold your breath though, the provinces will probably eat up this advantage through higher alcohol taxes etc.
The agreement will more than double the quota of cheese imported from the European Union to about 30,000 tonnes per year, which could take a bite out of Ontario and Quebec dairies’ market share. However, Ottawa has assured the provinces it will pay compensation to cheese producers, and that it will set up a marketing campaign for local cheese. (Your tax dollars at work again.)
Under CETA, Canada has agreed to adopt EU measures on so-called “patent term restoration.” Drug patents typically last for 20 years but if it takes more than five years between when a patent on a new drug is filed and marketing authorization is granted, the drug maker will now get an extra two years of patent protection as compensation. This could raise Canadian drug prices and cost provincial health plans, but the federal government believes the price hikes will be small and won’t kick in for years. (Have the ever lied to us before?).
For Canadian consumers, the end of a 6.1 per cent tariff on European imports will make German-made BMW’s and other vehicles like Audi, Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini more affordable. (Don’t all rush out at once!)
I am a concerned Canadian that is fed up seeing companies and people leave Canada due to the high cost of doing business and living.