Taking advantage of the Canada-European Union trade agreement

By Ariel Bryant

March 19, 2018

Global Affairs Canada is on tour to promote the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). While stopping in Manitoba they teamed up with Manitoba Trade and Investment to inform local economic development professionals, business people and other interested parties about the unique opportunities CETA presents for Canadian businesses.

With the signing of this comprehensive and progressive trade agreement on Sept. 21, 2017, Canadian goods went from 25% tariff and duty free to 98%. Once fully implemented the EU will have eliminated tariffs on 99% of Canadian goods. CETA also opens up several European government procurement markets to Canadian businesses, a market with over 3.3 Trillion dollars. With no trade agreement between the United States and Europe, this is a unique time for Canadian businesses to expand into European markets.

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Businesses seeking entry into European markets do not have to go it alone. Global Affairs Canada has over 900 trade commissioners in 160 major cities world-wide. These trade commissioners offer free services to Canadians and have a wealth of knowledge, experience and local contacts necessary to advancing your business. Special programming is available for Indigenous or Women-owned businesses through Business Women in International Trade (BWIT).

Financial help is also available. CanExport offers up to 50% funding for travel, market research, interpretation services, and much more for small to medium sized businesses ($200,000 to $50 Million per year). Though CanExport does not fund food or agricultural products, AgCanada offers similar funding for those products.

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Senior Trade Commissioners Ms. Sameena Qureshi, Mr. Christopher Maclean and Mr. Simon-Pierre Rhéaume provided insight on key market opportunities for Canadian businesses. These included organic, premium meats, grains and processed food products and clean-technology.

Currently only 3.6% of Canadian businesses are exporting. In an increasingly global economy, international trade is vital to a growing, sustainable Canada. Between Global Affairs Canada, provincial trade departments and programs like CanExport and BWIT, there is every reason for Canadian businesses to seize this opportunity and take the next step towards exporting their products.