Businesses will benefit from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Canadian Embassy and the Canada-Finland Chamber of Commerce held a seminar for companies to discuss the effects of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement CETA between Finland and Canada.
The discussion strengthened the view that CETA is the most advanced trade agreement to date. The agreement will remove customs duties on nearly all trade between the EU and Canada and will offer European companies an opportunity to participate in competitive bidding concerning public procurement in Canada.
The agreement is particularly important for small and medium-sized enterprises. Most companies in Canada fall into this category as well. The key benefit is related to assessing compliance: the agreement eliminates the need for double testing through a commitment to accepting certain product tests reciprocally.
Finland has an annual trade deficit of around EUR 1 billion with Canada. The agreement is also significant in terms of imports, particularly with regard to value chains in modern trade.
Will Canada become a gateway to the US market?
The effects of the presidential election on market entry for European companies to the United States were also discussed at the seminar. If free trade hits headwinds in the United States in the near future, Canada may serve as a gateway to the North American market for Finnish and European companies.
Even though the United States traditionally is the nearest and most attractive market for Canadian companies, CETA is expected to increase interest in the EU market. Brexit may cause Canadian companies to exchange the more culturally close and familiar United Kingdom for another country when choosing their European bases.
CETA will also facilitate the export of high-quality Arctic expertise from Finland to Canada. For example, Finnish icebreakers could be exported to maintain ship traffic in the Great Lakes.
It will be important for companies to keep up to date with invitations to tender in Canada. Small and medium-sized companies will be able to participate through consortiums. It will be equally important for SMEs to determine how to be included in large companies’ supply chains.
The governments, as well as business and industry organisations, are responsible for explaining to companies in common terms what CETA, a 1,500-page agreement, means in practice.
CETA was signed on 30 October 2016. With the exception of certain provisions, the agreement is intended to be applied temporarily to trade between the EU and Canada as of next spring, after the agreement has been approved by the European Parliament.
Read the CETA memorandum on impact of the agreement.
CETA experts at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are available for consultation for companies. Enquiries can be sent to TUO-10(at)formin.fi