The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, known as CETA, is a free trade deal between Canada and the European Union (EU). Once enacted, the agreement will eliminate tariffs (i.e., customs duties) on EU-originated goods imported to Canada and vice versa. RCC expects that the retail-relevant provisions of CETA will be in force before July 1, 2017.

Countries Involved:

The deal applies to goods manufactured in all 28* member states of the EU. Because Canada already has a free trade deal in place with several countries outside the EU (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein), the only European countries to which customs duties will still apply are Albania, Turkey, Russia, Macedonia and Montenegro.

For members who source goods from the United Kingdom, between implementation of CETA and the final exit of the UK from the EU (which might take a year or two), British products would fall under the new CETA rules and be tariff-free. It is also expected that the UK will move quickly to sign a free trade deal with Canada.

Legislative Progress:

On February 15, 2017, the agreement received final passage in the European Parliament. At the Canadian end, the enabling legislation has already passed the final stage in the House of Commons and is now in the Senate, where passage is expected quickly. Because the legislation is supported both by the Liberal government and the Conservative opposition, passage is essentially a certainty.

Because regulations need to be made to relieve goods of import tariffs, RCC (and the Canadian Government) anticipates that the deal will be in full effect for retail purposes by July 1, 2017. RCC is also engaged with the issue of new cheese quota allocation of significant interest to our grocery members and we are told that notification of quota allocation could come as early as March (or on passage of the Bill) to allow quota-holders to prepare for July implementation.

Next Steps:

RCC will keep tight track of timelines for tariff elimination, not least because of the potential savings to our members from properly timing their buying and delivery schedules, in that the existing tariffs apply on landing of goods.

RCC is also preparing a guide for members on the rules and the opportunities under CETA.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Karl Littler, Vice President, Public Affairs at: [email protected] or 416-467-3783

*Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania