CETA: A crucial step forward for the EU and for Canada
In October 2016, following intense negotiations, FoodDrinkEurope welcomed the signature of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), one of the most ambitious and progressive agreements ever negotiated. Canada ranks seventh among the EU food and drink export destinations. In 2015, EU food and drink exports to Canada amounted to €2.8 billion. EU food and drink exports to Canada consist mainly of wine, spirits, chocolate and confectionery, processed fruits and vegetables, bakery and farinaceous products, dairy products etc. The value of Canadian imports is about €900 million and dominated by fish products, processed fruits and vegetables, prepared animal feeds etc.
Europe’s food and drink manufacturers clearly stand to benefit from an improved access to Canada’s high-income market from various points of view:
With CETA in place, about 92% of European agri-food products will be exported to Canada duty-free. This will benefit for instance EU exports such as pasta, biscuits, confectionery, fruit and vegetable preparations, drinks and milk protein concentrate. Canada has also granted the EU a new bilateral quota for an effective 18,500 tonnes of cheese, which will more than double the market access for EU cheese.
• Non-tariff barriers
For European spirits and wines, tariff elimination will be complemented by the removal of non-tariff barriers. The removal of unfair trading practices and improved transparency in the way Canadian provincial liquor boards function will level the playing field and improve the competitive position of EU products. CETA will also remove the obligation to blend bulk spirits imports with local content.
• Geographical Indications
The agreement will provide legal protection for 145 European Geographical Indications (GIs) and allows for additional GIs to be added in future.
It must be also noted that the Joint Interpretative Instrument of the Agreement reaffirms the “right to regulate” and confirms that food safety standards will not be lowered, as promised since the beginning of the negotiations.
Moving on, it is essential that two years after the conclusion of the negotiations, the European Parliament gives its consent at the Plenary vote in February and pushes for a swift implementation of the agreement.