International Agreements in Progress: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada

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Series Details January 2017
Publication Date January 2017
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EU-Canada negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) started in May 2009 and were declared concluded at the EU-Canada Summit on 26 September 2014. The agreement's overall aim is to increase flows of goods, services and investment to the benefit of both partners. For the EU, CETA represents the first comprehensive economic agreement with a highly industrialised Western economy.

Except for a few sensitive agricultural products, the agreement would remove practically all tariffs on goods exchanged between the two partners. Canada would substantially open up its public procurement at both federal and sub-federal level, thereby eliminating a major asymmetry in access to each other's public procurement markets. The EU succeeded in securing protection for a large number of European Geographical Indications (GIs) on the Canadian market. Provisions on sustainable development should ensure that trade and investment do not develop to the detriment of, but rather support, environmental protection and social development.

On 5 July 2016, the European Commission made three proposals for a Council decision with respect to CETA: to sign the agreement, on provisional application, and on conclusion. The Council and Member States have had difficult discussions on the conditions under which CETA can be signed. The consent procedure could be launched once the proposal to conclude the agreement had officially reached the European Parliament.

CETA was signed by the EU and Canada on 30 October 2016. The Council decision on signature was only reached after difficult discussions, so that a total of 38 statements and declarations by Member States, the Commission and the Council, as well as a Joint Interpretative Instrument accompany that Council decision.

The European Parliament has launched the consent procedure, with Artis Pabriks (EPP, Latvia) as rapporteur. The vote in the Committee on International Trade (INTA) was scheduled for 24 January 2017, and the vote in plenary for the February 2017 part-session in Strasbourg (13 to 16 February 2017).

The ‘International Agreements in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

Author: Wilhelm Schöllmann

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Related Links
ESO: Fear and loathing in Namur: CETA will likely be rescued, but disaffection with globalisation can no longer be ignored
ESO: Background information: Statement by the European Commissioner for Trade and Canada's Minister of International Trade
ESO: Background information: Trade and sustainable development chapters in CETA (EPRS: Briefing, January 2017)

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