CETA sets a positive glow on the B.C. trade horizon

CETA sets a positive glow on the B.C. trade horizon

November 24, 2016 Posted by Willow Easton

On October 30, 2016, Canada and the European Union signed a landmark free trade agreement which promises to give Canadian exporters preferential access to the EU marketplace. The agreement is expected to come into force in 2017. The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is the most wide-ranging trade agreement ever concluded by the EU. When the CETA comes into force, Canada will be one of the few countries in the world to have preferential access to the world’s two largest economies – the US and the EU – giving B.C. companies a significant advantage over competitors. One of the key benefits when the CETA comes into force will be the immediate elimination of 98% of EU tariffs, growing to 99% elimination within seven years.
Reducing and eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers will make British Columbia goods, technologies and expertise more competitive in the EU. B.C. companies that currently export to the EU will have reduced costs and increased capacity to grow their market share. Other B.C. companies who previously found it too expensive to export to the EU will now find new markets and opportunities available to them.
The EU is the world’s second largest economy and ranks 5th as a destination for B.C.’s goods exports. The International Monetary Fund estimates the EU’s 2016 gross domestic product to be $16.5 trillion USD. In 2015, B.C. origin exports to the EU totalled $1.5 billion CDN. Top BC commodities exported to the EU in 2015 included: Machinery and Equipment ($433 million CAD), Wood Products ($344 million CAD), Energy Products ($339 million CAD), Pulp and Paper Products ($108 million CAD), and Agricultural, Agrifood and Seafood Products ($94 million CAD).
Many of B.C.’s top sectors will benefit from the CETA, including B.C.'s forestry sector which is the second largest export commodity to the EU. Currently, wood products face average tariffs of 2.2%, with peaks of 10%. The CETA’s elimination of tariffs will mean B.C. can competitively fill the growing demand for high-quality wood products in the EU.
B.C.’s seafood sector will also benefit from the agreement. The EU is the world's largest fish and seafood importer, with over 500 million consumers. In 2015, B.C. exported $44 million worth of fish and seafood products to the EU. Currently, EU tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood average 11%, with peaks of 25%. Salmon, accounting for the majority of B.C.'s fish and seafood exports to the EU, face tariffs of up to 15%. Again, these high tariff barriers will be eliminated under the CETA and will allow EU consumers to enjoy B.C.’s diverse range of fish and seafood products.  
Visit our website for more information about buying world-class B.C. goods and services that are soon be widely available to EU markets. For more information on the opportunities of the CETA and other free trade agreements please email Trade.Policy@gov.bc.ca
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