The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was implemented on the September 21, 2017 to strengthen the economic and social ties between Canada and the European Union. It already has! CETA is the main reason why EU stakeholders have gathered at the Fairmount Royal Hotel in Toronto on October 19, to have an informal exchange of ideas and experiences on the opportunities and challenges presented by this young agreement.
The workshop on “Understanding Market Opportunities & Challenges for EU Business under CETA” aimed to inform and prepare EU stakeholders for the changes CETA will bring in the near future along with the opportunities, challenges and everything in between. The first part of the workshop, a closed-door discussion between EU companies operating in Canada, was comprised of three working groups as follows: Non-tariff Barriers in the Food and Beverage Sector, Barriers for Services, Standards and Technical Regulations. Each of these working groups shared the most prominent opportunities and challenges associated with each sector addressed.
Here is a peek into the main topics discussed in each group:
- Barriers for services
Chaired by Daniel HOHNSTEIN, Senior Associate, Legal Expert, CETA Market Access Program for EU Business, Tereposky & DeRose LLP
The main topic addressed in this group was in regards to the difference in culture and provision of services between EU and Canada and the importance of meaningful networking. CETA represents a lot of opportunities and freedom of movement, it will allow many European businesses to offer their goods and services in Canada and vice versa. First order of business, as discussed in this group, should be networking, getting yourself known is the key to opening up every and all CETA opportunities. Getting accustomed to the culture and the way of business can mean a long-lasting economic and also social relationship between Europeans and Canadians, and this is nothing short of the main ambitions CETA is designed to accomplish.
- Standards and Technical regulations
Chaired by Gabrielle WHITE, Sector Specialist, Strategic Policy and Sector Engagement, Standards Council of Canada (SCC)
In a nutshell, the main topic of discussion was the CETA protocol itself and how this is not designed to harmonize the different requirements but rather to help companies looking to have their goods shipped to Canada, to be able to test and certify these goods before they arrive to Canada. The benefit of this protocol is to allow businesses to skip the process of shipping good, having them stored, having them tested and perhaps be resent to Europe if the certifications are not met- this is really a protocol that is looking to reduce the costs for testing the certifications for those technical standards coming across.
- Non-Tariff barriers in the Food and Beverage Sector
Chaired by Greg TEREPOSKY, Partner, Team Leader CETA Market Access Program for CETA, Tereposky &DeRose LLP and co-chaired by Keith MUSSAR, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs
The topics of food composition and size of food containers were the most underlined discussions in this group. Firstly, the fact that all importers and exporters have to be aware that the standards between Europe and Canada differ and it is crucial to be aware of both the European and the Canadian standards underlined under CETA. Some ingredients as we know and love in Canada may not be as common or even prohibited in Europe and vice versa, nonetheless the most important message regarding this was awareness is key, knowing all the standards as underlined under CETA will prevent unwanted costs.
The second part of this workshop was a panel discussion on the “Opportunity of CETA in an Increasingly Protectionist World” for which the room was opened up to other EU Stakeholders. The panel was comprised of five high level professionals:
- Chair: Jeff Graham, Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
- Dan Ciuriak, Director and Principal, Ciuriak Consulting Inc.
- Sanjeev Chowdhury, Director of free Trade Agreement Promotion Task Force, Global Affairs Canada
- Rocco Delvechio, Vice President- Government Affairs, Siemens Canada Ltd.
- Karsten Mecklengurg, Head of Trade and Economic Section, Delegation of the European Union to Canada
- Lisa Zajko, Partner and National Leader Customs and Global Trade, Deloitte LLP
The purpose of this panel discussion was to discuss the future implication of CETA in the context of an increasingly protectionist world. Although each panelist had a different take on this topic, the common message conveyed was that, if successful, CETA will provide an exemplary blueprint for all future ambitious and progressive trade deals.
Although a young agreement, CETA has been in the talks for a while now, many issues have already been rectified and the rest of the sharp edges, although unavoidable, are just a matter of time until they will be smoothed out.
One loud and clear message from the panelists was that CETA is not the problem that the protectionist movement makes it seem. CETA is a solution, a valuable partnership which can address current issues in a proper way, a real solution to real problems. Hence CETA is a representation of a common ground between the European Union and Canada, a further approach towards addressing today’s globalization challenges.
On a last note, The Delegation of the European Union to Canada and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Canada would like to thank everyone present at this workshop, all parties involved in the organization of this event, all the speakers and working group chairs. This workshop has put forward a unique opportunity to an open discussion about CETA with high level professionals devoted to provide informative, real solutions to empower all businesses, small and big. We hope that this little sneak peek has sparked your interest in joining our upcoming events, if not, here are some pictures to convince you to do so.