CETA trade deal receives backing of EU Trade Committee

The European Parliament’s International Trade Committee today backed the EU- Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

The draft recommendation was passed by 25 votes to 15 with 1 abstention and the European Parliament votes on the agreement in full in February.

Rapporteur for the CETA agreement Artis Pabriks, of the EPP Group, said that approving CETA is a significant step forward.

“In the face of rising protectionism and populism, Parliament is able and willing to act on behalf of European citizens. I stand for a strong and global Europe and for open markets.

“Ratifying this agreement with Canada will enable trade to continue to bring wealth to both shores of our transatlantic friendship. The duty of our governments is to ensure that each and every one of us benefits from this wealth.”

Implications for the Irish agriculture sector

The European Commission has said that CETA will create new opportunities for farmers and food producers, while fully protecting the sensitivities of the EU.

The EU will grant Canada duty-free access for 50,000t of fresh and frozen beef, it will also be granted duty-free access for 75,000t of pork, which will be added to the existing WTO quota of 4,625t and consolidated into CETA to simplify the administration of this quota.

Under the trade agreement, EU beef and sheepmeat market access into Canada will be fully liberalised at zero in-quota rates.

The CETA deal will not remove tariff barriers for public services, audiovisual and transport services and a few agricultural products, such as dairy, poultry and eggs.

What happens now?

Following today’s vote by the Trade Committee, the the deal will be put to a vote by the European Parliament as a whole at the February plenary session in Strasbourg.

If Parliament approves the CETA deal, it could apply provisionally from as early as April 2017.

As CETA was declared a mixed agreement by the European Commission in July, it will also need to be ratified by national and regional parliaments.

According to the Commission, Canada is also the fourth-largest investor in the EU.

In 2015 the EU imported goods from Canada worth €28.3 billion and exported goods to it worth €35.2 billion, a figure that is expected to rise by more than 20% when the agreement is implemented in full, figures show.