EU-Canada trade agreement enters into force

Out-Law News | 21 Sep 2017 | 12:22 pm | 1 min. read

The European Union's free trade deal with Canada will provisionally enter into force today, following approval by EU member states, the council of ministers, and the European parliament.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will remove tariffs on many goods and services traded between Canada and the EU and will allow mutual recognition of certification for a range of products.

The EU has secured protection for over 140 European geographical indications for food and drinks sold on the Canadian market.

The deal does not remove tariff barriers in public services, audiovisual and transport services and some agricultural products.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said: "This agreement encapsulates what we want our trade policy to be - an instrument for growth that benefits European companies and citizens, but also a tool to project our values, harness globalisation and shape global trade rules. This trade deal has been subject to an in-depth parliamentary scrutiny which reflects the increased interest of citizens in trade policy. The intense exchanges on CETA throughout this process are testimony to the democratic nature of European decision making and I expect member states to conduct an inclusive and thorough discussion in the context of the ongoing national ratification processes of the agreement. Now it's time for our companies and citizens to make the most out of this opportunity and for everyone to see how our trade policy can produce tangible benefits for everyone".

CETA will only enter into force fully and definitively when all EU member states have ratified the agreement, the Commission said. At that time, a new and improved investment court system will replace the current investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism that exists in many bilateral trade agreements negotiated in the past by EU member states' governments. The new mechanism will be transparent and not based on ad hoc tribunals, the Commission said.

Canada's finance minister said in November that his country will want to strike a deal with the UK after it leaves the EU, but that it is not top of Canada's trade priorities.