Canada to see some ‘mod­est’ gains from trade deal with Europe: bud­get watch­dog

Cape Breton Post - - Business - BY ANDY BLATCHFORD

Canada’s free-trade pact with Europe is poised to pro­duce “mod­est’’ eco­nomic gains that work out to an av­er­age an­nual in­come boost of $220 per Cana­dian, the fed­eral bud­get watch­dog says in a new re­port.

The par­lia­men­tary bud­get of­fi­cer re­leased a study Tues­day that es­ti­mates the trade deal would have lifted Canada’s over­all eco­nomic out­put in 2015 by 0.4 per cent or $7.9 bil­lion, had it been im­ple­mented at the time.

Cana­dian ex­ports of goods to the EU would have in­creased $4 bil­lion, ser­vices would have been up $2.2 bil­lion and in­vest­ment would have grown by $3.1 bil­lion, the anal­y­sis found.

But the re­port did put the over­all pro­jected im­prove­ment into per­spec­tive by not­ing that Canada boasts a $2-tril­lion econ­omy.

“CETA will lead to some gains for Canada, but they will be mod­est,’’ the re­port said, re­fer­ring to the deal’s full name: the Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic and Trade Agree­ment.

“The work out­lined in this re­port projects a small, but pos­i­tive, over­all ef­fect on Canada’s econ­omy ... Start­ing from rel­a­tively low lev­els, ex­ports of goods will in­crease by 9.3 per cent and ser­vices by 14 per cent.’’

The PBO based its anal­y­sis on 2015 be­cause pro­ject­ing into the fu­ture would have been more dif­fi­cult. It was also the most re­cent year for which a com­plete set of eco­nomic data was avail­able.

Sec­tors in­clud­ing trans­port and mo­tor ve­hi­cles, some me­tals and wheat will likely grow more quickly, the bud­get of­fice pre­dicted.

On the other hand, it also said some Cana­dian sec­tors will likely see slower growth un­der the agree­ment, in­clud­ing tex­tiles, some ma­chin­ery and man­u­fac­tured goods as well as some dairy and agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

Canada’s in­ter­na­tional trade min­is­ter was asked Tues­day whether Ot­tawa had done enough to com­pen­sate dairy farm­ers fol­low­ing the fed­eral de­ci­sion to open up part of the dairy sec­tor to Euro­pean pro­duc­ers.

The fed­eral govern­ment has com­mit­ted $350 mil­lion to help ease the neg­a­tive ef­fects of CETA on dairy farm­ers, but the in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion has ar­gued it isn’t enough to off­set the dam­age.

Fran­cois-Philippe Cham­pagne added that he recently met with Cana­dian milk and cheese pro­duc­ers. He said he re­minded them of the new op­por­tu­ni­ties un­der CETA.

“We also ob­tained an open­ing in the Euro­pean mar­ket, which is the big­gest con­sumer mar­ket for food items,’’ said Cham­pagne, who added he had yet to see the PBO re­port.

CP PHOTO

Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Trade Fran­cois-Philippe Cham­pagne is shown in this file photo from last month ask­ing a ques­tion dur­ing Ques­tion Pe­riod in the House of Com­mons in Ot­tawa.

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