Published: Wed, 25 January 2017
Seán Kelly MEP has welcomed today’s positive vote in favour of the EU-Canada trade agreement by the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee – of which Mr Kelly is the only Irish Member. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA will now come before Parliament for a final plenary vote on February 15th, after which it will be officially ratified by EU countries.
“After 7 years of negotiations, with the full inclusion of various stakeholders including trade unions, NGOs and more, a very advanced, extensive trade agreement was achieved with CETA. Almost all tariffs will be eliminated with the conclusion of CETA, saving European exporters over €500 million per year and create a level playing field for both partners with strong environmental, consumer and labour standards,” MEP Kelly said after the vote in Brussels today (Tuesday).
“The overall benefits of the agreement are expected to raise the level of the EU’s annual GDP by around €12 billion per year, and increase bilateral trade by €26 billion and create new jobs. We know that every €1 billion in exports supports 14,000 European jobs. The EU-South Korea trade deal resulted in 210,000 new jobs in Europe.”
Small to medium businesses are also highly likely to benefit most as the high cost and bureaucracy of exporting to Canada will be hugely reduced.
“While such ambitious trade arrangements can be a cause of concern for sensitive sectors like agriculture, they offer huge opportunities too. Exports are essential for the Irish agricultural sector. Currently, EU food and agricultural exports face between 10-20pc tariffs with Canada. CETA will eliminate 94pc of tariffs. Furthermore, EU’s and Canada’s current veterinary agreement will come under the enforcement disciplines of CETA, making the agreement much stronger. The protection of various products (145) will be labelled as geographical indications (GIs) with this agreement.
“We are facing into Brexit negotiations and it is clear that US President, Donald Trump, is not in favour of progressing EU-US trade talks.
“It is even more important than ever that Europe sets its sights firmly on the international stage to reaffirm its position as the powerful trading bloc that the 27 remaining Member States are. We need to look forward and outward to enable our home-grown businesses to expand, create more jobs and to ensure our citizens enjoy a high standard of living. The EU-Canada trade agreement offers opportunity to trade while maintaining high European standards in keeping with our values. Canada is a modern democracy and a trading partner we can trust.”
Mr Kelly noted that Ireland is already a keen exporter of pharmaceutical products and organic chemical and insurance services to Canada and the agreement on standards and tariffs will make it much easier to boost such trade. In addition, the public procurement market in Canada will be open to Irish service providers too.