Canada and the EU finally signed the CETA

Today the President of the EU Council Donald Tusk and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, signed in Brussels the the EU-Canada Strategic Partnership Agreement and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, known respectively as CETA and SPA.

CETA is the most comprehensive and progressive trade agreement between the EU and Canada. It removes over 99% of tariffs that currently hinder trade between the EU and Canada. It is expected to increase bilateral trade by €12Bn per year, and to generate growth and new jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the first Canada-EU Framework Agreement (1976) and the establishment of the EU’s diplomatic mission in Ottawa.

Canada’s trade and investment relations continue to grow with the EU, the world’s second largest single market, and Canada’s second largest bilateral trading partner. Of Canada’s 21 priority markets for investment attraction, 11 are in the EU.

From left to right: Justin Trudeau, ;Donald Tusk, President of the European Council; Canadian Prime Minister; and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. Photo © EU Council.
From left to right: Justin Trudeau, ;Donald Tusk, President of the European Council; Canadian Prime Minister; and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. Photo © EU Council.

The leaders also inked the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA).  The SPA deepens cooperation between the EU and Canada in fields such as foreign policy, crisis management, security and defence, energy and climate, enhanced mobility and people-to-people exchanges.

One of the outcomes of the summit was “lifting visa requirements to all EU citizens including the decision by Canada to lift the requirements for all Bulgarian and Romanian citizens in late 2017.

Tusk welcome the signing of CETA and the SPA

“These agreements reach far beyond the trade context. Today’s decisions demonstrate that the disintegration of the Western community does not need to become a lasting trend. That we still possess enough strength and determination at least some of us – to counter the fatalism of the decay of our political world. In this particular moment in the EU’s history, this positive sign means a great deal. And for this I would also like to thank our guests very much indeed,” said Donald Tusk (President of the EU Council) among other remarks after the Summit.

“Today we also signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement. It provides a robust framework for expanding our cooperation in a wide range of areas including foreign policy, crisis management, security and defence, energy and climate, enhanced mobility and people-to-people exchanges. I welcome the decision by Canada to lift visa requirements for all Bulgarian and Romanian citizens in late 2017, ” Tusk continued and underscored: “Last but not least, migration is a key topic where our cooperation with Canada is extremely important. Canada’s responsible approach to sharing the burden sets an excellent example for others. Prime Minister, the EU warmly welcomes your government’s efforts to resettle more than 33 000 Syrian refugees since you took office, as well as your financial support and participation in NATO’s engagement in the Aegean.”

“The Canada-EU partnership is based on shared values, a long history of close cooperation, and strong people-to-people ties. The signing of CETA and the SPA sets the stage for even deeper relations in the future which will bolster the middle class on both sides of the Atlantic,” Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister of Canada) explained.

Despite the objections of Walonia

“The battle for CETA also showed how important impressions and emotions are in the modern world. It showed that facts and figures won’t stand up for themselves alone,” remarked Tusk an added, “That post-factual reality and post-truth politics pose a great challenge on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Free trade and globalisation have protected hundreds of millions of people from poverty and hunger. The problem is that few people believe this.

From left to right: Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission; Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister; Donald Tusk, President of the European Council; Robert Fico, Slovak Prime Minister. Photo © EU Council.
From left to right: Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission; Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister; Donald Tusk, President of the European Council; Robert Fico, Slovak Prime Minister. Photo © EU Council.

“Free trade and globalisation protect humanity from total conflict, the problem is that few people understand this.

“The controversy around CETA has demonstrated that our first priority is to give people honest and convincing information about the real effects of free trade. That the alternative to free trade is isolationism and protectionism, a return to national egoisms, and as a result the threat of violent conflict.

“We should be able to convince our citizens that free trade is in their interest, and not just big companies and corporations.”

The Parliament of Walonia finally turned on the green light for the Governmento of the Belgian Union to agree on the signing of the CETA. Some disagreements mainly on two points: Arbitration on international investment issues and imports of agricultural products from Canada, made the Parliament of Walonia block the inking of the CETA not one or two, but five times.

Strengthened cooperation on several international issues

In the joint declaration the leaders committed to strengthening international cooperation between the EU and Canada and in various international fora and on several issues: Ukraine; Syria; as well as migration and refugees.

On Ukraine.- Particularly, they condemned the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. They emphasised their commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called on all parties to implement the Minsk Agreement.

On Syria.- Leaders called for cessation of hostilities and efforts to find a political solution. They reiterated their support for the work of the UN special envoy de Mistura in his efforts to prepare the ground for the resumption of intra-Syria talks.

On migration and refugees.- EU and Canada underlined the need for global burden-sharing in addressing the migration and refugee crisis. Both parties will reinforce their cooperation in this area. The EU welcomed Canada’s efforts in resettling Syrian refugees.

Image over the headline.-From left to right: Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister; and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. Photo  © EU Council.

Related external links:

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union (anexes)

Strategical partnership between EU and Canada

16th EU -Canada Summit joint declaration

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