CETA celebrates third anniversary

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By Christian Sivière

CETA, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, is turning three on September 21st, bringing the already successful Trans-Atlantic trading relationship to new heights. Customs duties or tariffs, as they are often called, were eliminated om most products and the Agreement opened opportunities for manufacturers, exporters, importers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers and consumers on both sides of the ocean. In addition to making European and Canadian products more competitive in our mutual markets, it created openings for services and public procurement in both directions.

There are advantages for both sides. CETA provides Canadian exporters with access to a huge market, at a time when Canada’s largest export market, the United States, has become a bit unpredictable, so the Agreement is a great diversification tool. For European exporters, Canada is a modest but stable market and it’s seen as a potential bridgehead to the U.S. market.  

To get a snapshot of the evolution of trade since CETA’s inception, we’ve looked at how our bilateral trade evolved between 2017 and 2019. There is no point looking at the 2020 figures, since they are greatly impacted by Covid-19: international trade nose-dived across the board in March and has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels.

Canada’s exports to 2017 2019  % change
United Kingdom* 17.129 19.194 +12%
Germany   3.572   5.520 +54%
Belgium   3.351   3.047    -9%
France   3.097   3.293   +6%
Netherlands   2.883   4.864 +68%
Italy   2.196   3.143 +43%
Spain   1.584   1.434    -5%
Sweden   0.701   0.375 -47%
Finland   0.615   0.663   +8%
Ireland   0.550   0.818 +48%
Latvia   0.511   0.445 -13%
Denmark   0.441   0.255 -42%
Poland   0.432   0.441   +2%
Bulgaria   0.360   0.236 -35%
Austria   0.329   0.236 -28%
Portugal   0.260   0.270   +3%
Malta   0.196   0.098 -50%
Czechia   0.182   0.273 +50%
Romania   0.138   0.089 -36%
Luxemburg   0.107   0.093 -13%
Greece   0.089   0.119 +33%
Slovenia   0.073   0.091 +24%
Lithuania   0.066   0.067   +2%
Croatia   0.043   0.032 -26%
Hungary   0.065   0.081 +25%
Slovakia   0.030   0.038 +26%
Estonia   0.018   0.027 +50%
Cyprus   0.012   0.009 -25%
Total 39.030 45.251 +16%

Table in billion Canadian dollars

Canada’s imports from 2017 2019  % change
Germany 17.982 19.324   +7%
United Kingdom*   8.904   9.225   +3%
Italy   8.151   9.470 +16%
France   6.192   8.693 +40%
Netherlands   4.006   4.662 +16%
Belgium   3.171   4.964 +56%
Spain   2.808   3.496 +25%
Ireland   2.351   3.019 +28%
Sweden   2.199   2.287   +4%
Poland   1.937   2.337 +21%
Austria   1.896   2.284 +20%
Denmark   1.386   1.549 +12%
Finland   1.175   1.064   -9%
Hungary   0.752   0.921 +22%
Czechia   0.625   0.818 +31%
Slovakia   0.603   0.725 +20%
Portugal   0.577   0.658 +14%
Romania   0.553   0.476  -14%
Greece   0.245   0.280 +14%
Lithuania   0.223   0.265 +19%
Slovenia   0.173   0.212 +23%
Luxemburg   0.154   0.164    +6%
Bulgaria   0.138   0.199 +44%
Estonia   0.085   0.123 +45%
Croatia   0.051   0.070 +37%
Latvia   0.043   0.047   +9%
Malta   0.043   0.034 -21%
Cyprus   0.003   0.004 +33%
Total 66.426 77.370 +16%

Table in billion Canadian dollars

As we can see from the above tables, trade between the two partners has increased significantly in both directions. It will no doubt continue to grow as our economies emerge from the pandemic, bringing

international trade back on track and further strengthening the Canada-EU trade relationship. Export is key to the recovery programs in the EU and in Canada, and CETA represents a great opportunity thanks to a stable and safe agreement.

Source: Statistics Canada

*The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. The transition period ends on 31 December 2020 and until then, it is business as usual.

©Christian Sivière/Solimpex, International Trade Consultant and Lecturer

Christian.siviere@videotron.ca