One year on and CETA is gain­ing strength


Global trade im­pacts the lives of mid­dle-class Cana­di­ans every day. From the blue­ber­ries you put in your oat­meal in the morn­ing to the mack­erel you cook at night for din­ner- Cana­di­ans are very much a part of im­por­tant global re­la­tion­ships that im­pact the lives of mil­lions of peo­ple around the world every day.

As we mark the first an­niver­sary of the sign­ing of the Canada Eu­ro­pean Union Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic and Trade Agree­ment (CETA), I would like to re­flect how this agree­ment is cre­at­ing more well-pay­ing jobs in Canada and lower liv­ing costs for mid­dle class Cana­di­ans.

CETA is a trade agree­ment be­tween Canada and the Eu­ro­pean Union (EU) that at its core low­ers tar­iffs and opens ac­cess. That means for Cana­di­ans ben­e­fit from greater choice and more buy­ers for the goods we make every day and ser­vices we can pro­vide from ICT to trans­porta­tion engi­neer­ing. CETA goes fur­ther still by ad­dress­ing things such as labour stan­dards, the re­moval of un­nec­es­sary reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments, au­to­ma­tion of bor­der pro­ce­dures, and many other fac­tors that shape how Canada trades with the EU. Taken to­gether, CETA makes it eas­ier for the first-time or would-be ex­porter to crack into the lu­cra­tive Eu­ro­pean mar­ket and grow.

In just one year after sign­ing CETA, we have seen 98 per cent of all tar­iffs be­tween Canada and the EU be­come duty free. That is real change for Cana­dian fam­i­lies who now don`t have to pay the ex­tra taxes on im­ported goods. But it isn’t just real change for con­sumers; it is also real change for Cana­dian busi­nesses. At the Port of Mon­treal alone, we have seen 20 per cent more traf­fic in goods headed across the At­lantic.

This enor­mous step in growth for Canada and the EU has been the rea­son why new ship­ping lanes have been added to ac­com­mo­date con­tainer traf­fic. When 9000 tar­iff lines drop to zero, work­ers and farm­ers, en­trepreneurs and ar­ti­sans can com­pete and suc­ceed with any one based in Europe, a mar­ket of over 500 mil­lion con­sumers.

Canada`s suc­cess de­pends on our govern­ment`s abil­ity to di­ver­sify trade. The EU is the world`s se­cond largest econ­omy and Canada`s se­cond largest trad­ing part­ner after the United States. As we look to our neigh­bour to the south and the in­ten­si­fy­ing trade sit­u­a­tion we find our­selves in, it is ev­i­dent that Cana­dian jobs and Cana­dian fam­i­lies de­pend on the suc­cess of CETA.

Canada’s suc­cess also de­pends on do­ing trade dif­fer­ently. The Op­po­si­tion favours the speed of the sta­tus quo ap­proach but we all know that has left far too many on the side­lines, ille­quipped or un­able to take ad­van­tage of new ac­cess to more mar­kets.

Our govern­ment will not set­tle for any deal, we want the right deal and will do the work nec­es­sary to get it.

CETA en­sures that in­creased trade work­ers’ rights and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions are en­hanced and pro­tected and that small and medium-sized busi­nesses gain mean­ing­ful ac­cess to pro­cure­ment and sales across the EU.

We got CETA signed by think­ing about what would make that bud­ding en­tre­pre­neur, small busi­ness owner, farmer or man­u­fac­turer bet­ter equipped to com­pete and suc­ceed.

We will con­tinue to keep Cana­di­ans and Cana­dian busi­nesses in mind when we are work­ing to ex­pand trade di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion. It is our job to open more doors and make sure that Cana­di­ans have ac­cess to global mar­kets. CETA paves the way for new cus­tomers, clients and the good mid­dle class jobs that come with it.

Jim Carr is Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Trade Di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and is the MP for Win­nipeg South Cen­tre.

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