Ceta, Uncertain Trade Agreement

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Pros and Cons to Free Trade Between Canada and the European Union

Marc-André Lavigne
Opinions Editor

Last Sunday, Trudeau went to Brussels, Belgium to sign an important document that was 7 years in the making. The specific document is the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). It is a deal between Canada and thwe European Union (EU) to work on free-trade between Canada and the EU.

Over the this past week, an agreement seemed very improbable because Wallonia, a region of Belgium, continued to voice their disapproval of such a deal. However, on Friday, the regional government of Wallonia voted to stop opposing CETA. Before then, France, Germany and Austria were opposed to CETA, but they have since changed their decision (Montreal Gazette).

Despite the deal being signed this past Sunday October 30th, there is no guarantee that the deal will stand or be agreed upon by all 28 countries forming the European Union. In order for CETA to be put into action, all 28 countries have to agree to it. Otherwise, further negotiation will be needed. The resulting negotiations could be expected to last years (Montreal Gazette).

Government officials claim that about 90% of CETA has been ratified. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau estimated that by the time CETA is up for voting (which should be in a few months, beginning in 2017), 98% of the clauses contained in the trade agreement should have been agreed upon.

While Wallonia has agreed to CETA, dairy producers in Canada are still against it for the same reasons they cited when the Trans-Pacific Partnership was signed in February of this year. The dairy producers which, oppose the deal are mainly from the province of Quebec and they’re particularly concerned about the competition they could face from European dairy producers. They are hoping for compensation from the Federal government in order to help them stand against the competition. They would also like to have more than just a promise of help between Trudeau and Quebec’s Premier Philippe Couillard (LaPresse).

The trade agreement could provide Canadian producers with a huge market by reducing 98% of all tariffs on products exchanged between Canada and Europe. Another advantage of CETA is a quota increase on the number of goods it is currently possible to produce. This will particularly benefit the agricultural sector (CTV News).

It is to be noted that the same opportunity in terms of the market would be present from the perspective of Europe. Prices of products produced and sold in both Europe and Canada could decrease and make some products of Europe more affordable for Canadians and vice-versa.

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