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Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA)

November 14, 2013

On October 18, 2013, the Government of Canada announced an agreement-in-principle with the European Union (EU) on a new trade deal. This deal, if implemented, is the largest in Canadian history, opening up to Canadian companies the world’s largest and wealthiest market of consumers.

Opening up foreign markets for Canadian goods and services is a key part of our government’s Economic Action Plan to create jobs and economic growth.  It is estimated, conservatively, that this trade deal could create 80,000 new Canadian jobs and add about $12 billion to Canada’s economy, representing an addition of $1,000 annually to each Canadian household’s income.

The trade deal, formally called the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), will see improved access for Canadian companies to the EU market of more than 500 million people. By removing trade barriers between Canada and Europe, Canadian exports to Europe will increase, while making European goods more available to Canadians. This will benefit Canadian manufacturers and workers, especially in Ontario.

When CETA comes into force, Canada will be the only G-8 country and one of the only developed countries in the world to have preferential access to the world’s two largest markets, the EU and the US. This will make Canada an even more attractive destination for investors and manufacturers looking to benefit from this access. The expanded opportunities for Canadian companies and new investors will lead to growth in Ontario manufacturing.

The negotiations for the trade deal took longer than expected because the Canadian government bargained hard to protect our system of supply management, the system that has protected Canadian dairy, chicken, egg and turkey farmers since the 1970s. In order to secure the overall agreement, Canada agreed to increase the amount of cheese imported from approximately 20,000 to 36,000 tonnes annually, out of a total of 400,000 tonnes of cheese consumed a year in Canada. The increase in cheese imports is expected to be more than offset by the future increases in cheese demand in Canada. In return, the Europeans agreed to allow Canadian beef and pork, as well as Canadian cheese, into Europe tariff-free. Canadian beef and pork farmers have estimated that this tariff-free access for their products will add about one billion dollars annually to their industry.

Since the announcement of CETA, I have met and talked with a number of dairy farmers in our area. Many are still learning the details of the agreement and I want to assure them that I continue to strongly support the system of supply management. I also want to assure them that in the event that they are negatively affected, the Government of Canada will provide financial compensation to those affected. In addition, the Government of Canada has committed to invest resources in marketing and take action at the border to strengthen Canada’s system of supply management.

This trade deal is the biggest in Canadian history, opening up to Canadian companies a market of 500 million wealthy European consumers. It will secure Canada’s economic future by diversifying trade away from our overreliance on trade with the United States, something that successive Canadian governments have tried to do since the 1970s. Prime Minister Harper and his government deserve credit for this significant economic accomplishment.

More details on the trade agreement (especially for Ontario) can be found at: http://goo.gl/sSOtV4


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