The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, and Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, today announced that barriers to signing the agreement have been addressed, most notably the investor-state dispute settlement provisions. The full text of the announcement can be seen here.

Canada and the European Commission will now complete the translation and review of the text in French and the 21 other EU treaty languages. Once finalized, they will focus on the swift ratification of the agreement. It is anticipated that CETA will be signed in 2016, followed by enabling legislation, and that it will enter into force sometime with the majority of tariffs eliminated in 2017.

RCC will continue to work closely with officials in the Departments of Global Affairs and Finance throughout the implementation process, advocating for accelerated tariff relief and member access to additional quotas for European cheeses.

Background

The primary focus and benefit of the CETA agreement is the elimination of tariffs from European Union countries, most of which will occur immediately upon implementation. In addition to general tariff elimination the CETA agreement also increases the amount of European Cheese that will be available to import to the Canadian market. The cheese provision of the agreement will provide an additional 17,000 metric tonnes of European cheese to the Canadian market for commercial purposes, in addition to the current 13,000 metric tonnes that is currently available. The agreement specifies that 30% of the additional allocation must be allocated to new quota holders. The existing quota is held by a limited number of large processors. This provides an opportunity for retailers who currently sell cheese to directly import and sell cheese to Canadian consumers. RCC will be participating in the consultation process to be launched by Global Affairs Canada shortly. This process will define the criteria that will be used to allocate additional quota.

Based on RCC’s review of the schedule below, tariffs on apparel items such as tailored suits, knitwear and shoes would be eliminated immediately upon implementation. Due to differing treatment for individual products, officials are encouraging organizations to consult with a customs broker in order to confirm exact timing of elimination for specific products. Canada’s detailed tariff schedule can be seen here. Any tariff item that is not listed will have duties eliminated immediately on entry into force, otherwise B = 3 years, C = 5 years, D = 7 years, and E = exempt.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jason McLinton, Senior Director, Federal Government Relations at: [email protected] or 613-656-7903