The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement — better known as CETA — has eliminated up to 98 per cent of trade tariffs between Canada and the EU since its signing in October of 2016. Among the big winners of the deal are lobster fishermen and fish factories in Atlantic Canada, much to the dismay of their traditional rivals, the US lobster industry in Maine.
“This trade agreement does give Canada a huge leg up in the European marketplace,” says Annie Tselikis, executive director of the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association. Tselikis told The New York Times that American companies are now investing in Canadian fish factories in order to qualify for the EU trade deal. “If the argument is you’re not going to develop this trade policy because you are outsourcing jobs — well, here we are, potentially outsourcing jobs, due to an absence of trade policy.”
Canadian Robert Macdonald is president of Gidney Fisheries, which processes up to 15,000 lobsters a day, exporting both live and frozen lobster. “For us, free trade is a good thing,” Macdonald comments. The Nova Scotian company has invested in new technology and plans to increase its current staff of 85 by about 50 per cent. “A decade or two ago, there would be very few players who would have been shipping internationally,” he says. “We now ship live lobsters all over the world.”
Delicacy: Canadian lobster is shipped worldwide