Canada-EU Trade Agreement Text Finalized, Made Public

Today, at the Canada-EU Summit in Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, signed a formal declaration marking the end of negotiations for the Canada-Europe Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

The final text of the deal — more than 1,600 pages long — was also made public for the first time on Friday. Its completion means it can now be sent to the governments involved for approval.

CETA’s implementation will see almost 94% of EU agricultural tariff lines duty free, and includes provisions to address non-tariff barriers into the EU, including animal and plant health and food safety. For Canada’s beef sector, the changes mean new duty-free access valued at nearly $600M annually.

“The CCA would like to see the same unanimous endorsement from all the provinces and territories that the agreement-in-principle received last fall,” CCA president David Solverson said in a press release. “The CCA urges the Federal and Provincial governments to move quickly to implement the agreement as soon as possible.”

To Canada’s canola industry, the agreement has potential in the elimination of oil tariffs and provisions to reduce biotechnology-related non-tariff barriers, but the Canola Council of Canada isn’t holding its breath.

 “We appreciate the Government of Canada’s sustained commitment to securing this agreement,” said CCC President Patti Miller in a release. “However, we are cautious because the value of the agreement to Canada’s canola sector will depend on the EU living up to its commitment to ensure timely approvals of biotechnology products.”

The agreement, released in both of Canada’s official languages, is the result of years of collaboration, beginning in June of 2007 at the EU-Canada Summit in Berlin, when leaders agreed to examine the costs and benefits of a closer economic partnership. Between 2011 and 2013, Canada’s agricultural exports to the EU averaged $2.5B annually, led by wheat, soybeans and other oilseeds and canola oil.

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