Spotlight on CETA
All you need to know about the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada
CETA this, CETA that. CETA is good, CETA is bad.
For well over a year now, the term ‘CETA’ has been making rounds in the business circles, especially right here in Belgium. And yet, not everyone is still aware of what exactly it is and, more importantly, what its implications are.
By fixing our lens on CETA, I will give you a closer look at this agreement and explain what it means for you.
What is CETA?
CETA stands for Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, which means it’s essentially a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada. While it sounds quite amazing in theory, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing, especially as far as Belgium is concerned. In fact, Belgium was the final country to give approval. Why? Well, although this agreement was 7 years in the making, Wallonia initially rejected the deal. It was only after much deliberation – and many additional concessions – that Belgium, too, gave in at the end of October last year.
Here are some key dates:
- On 30 October, 2016, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flew to Brussels to sign on behalf of his nation.
- On 15 February, 2017, the European Parliament approved the deal.
- From 21 September, 2017, substantial parts have been provisionally applied.
- This agreement is really something if we think about a host of figures:
- In 2015, trade in services between the two parties added up to more than EUR 30 billion!
- We – the EU – exported more than EUR 5billion to Canada than we imported.
- CETA aims to remove a staggering 98%- 99% of the tariffs that were to be paid at Canadian customs.
- Canada is the 10th largest economy in the world.
Cool, right? And here’s more: according to some estimates, bilateral trade could very well increase by 20% annually. Just think about the possibilities CETA is aiming to bring to our doorstep.
So what about your SMB?
We know, we know … you’ve probably heard what the opponents of CETA have to say, especially those who claim that it will basically open the field for multinational corporations to shove out small businesses.
And yet, there’s a reason why negotiations took so long. Each nation got ample opportunity to safeguard the interests of its people – big fish and small fish alike. It really doesn’t have to be viewed as the great tragedy many in the EU believe it to be.
You see, SMBs who can’t find the bucks (or time!) for stuff like duplicate testing, insanely long customs procedures and crazy legal costs will greatly benefit. And let’s not forget the essential point here: with CETA, a whole new world will be well within your reach – new market, new people, new possibilities!
So, Belgians, the entire world may not be your oyster (just yet!), but Canada certainly is. Let’s take full advantage of that! Get ready & talk to your Fast Bloomer international expert.