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Canadian ag, agri-food exporters applaud CETA signing


October 31, 2016
By Press release

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October 31, 2016, Brussels, Belgium – The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) applauded the Government of Canada for recently signing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union (EU).

In an official ceremony, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of the European Comission Jean-Claude Juncker and Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico for the Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU signed the CETA deal, after seven years of negotiations. The official signing means the complete text may begin the ratification process through the Canadian Parliament and the legislatures of the 28 member countries of the EU and cannot be amended.

“Seeing Canada’s largest trade agreement since NAFTA get signed is a bright light for agri-food exporters,” said Brian Innes, CAFTA president. “Better access to the EU will help us grow our exports, driving growth here in Canada.”

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Eliminating barriers to trade through the CETA will allow Canada to capture more value from agri-food exports to the EU. Canada exported $2.6 billion in agriculture and food products to the EU in 2014. When the CETA is fully implemented, it will eliminate EU tariffs on almost 94 per cent of Canada’s agri-food products. The agreement could drive additional exports of up to $1.5 billion, including $600 million in beef, $400 million in pork, $100 million in grains and oilseeds, $100 million in sugar containing products and a further $300 million in processed foods, fruits and vegetables.

Over the last 10 years in Canada, agriculture and agrifood exports have grown by 103 per cent, from $30 billion to over $61 billion – boosting farm cash receipts by 61 per cent over the same 2005-2015 period.

“We believe free trade deals like CETA are required for Canada’s export oriented agri-food sector to thrive,” said Innes. “CETA provides the framework to access one of the world’s few multibillion-dollar export markets, and importantly, it does so ahead of our major competitors.”

One remaining concern is the slow progress the EU is making to resolve technical issues that will allow agri-food exporters to have commercially viable access to the EU. CAFTA encourages government officials to resolve outstanding technical issues while the necessary legal and political processes are completed.

CAFTA Executive Director Claire Citeau was present for the signing ceremony and was accompanied earlier this week in Brussels by Doug Sawyer of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

CAFTA and its members have attended multiple rounds of negotiations and look forward to working closely with government officials on successfully implementing this deal so that commercially viable access is achieved.