As of September 2016, Canada entered into the bilateral Canada and European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which as the federal government points out is “by far one of Canada’s most ambitious trade initiatives, setting new standards in the trade in goods and services, non-tariff barriers, investment, government procurement, as well as other areas like labour and environment. CETA will open new markets in the EU for our exporters and generate significant benefits for all Canadians.
“The EU is the world’s second largest economy and Canada’s second largest trading partner after the United States. It is also the world’s second largest importing market for goods. The EU’s annual imports alone are worth more than Canada’s GDP. Preferential access to this large, dynamic market offers tremendous opportunities and a real competitive edge for Canada.
“CETA covers virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada–EU trade in order to eliminate or reduce barriers. CETA addresses everything from tariffs to product standards, investment, professional certification and many other areas of activity. The agreement’s broad scope — including improved access to EU markets for goods and services; greater certainty, transparency, and protection for investments; and new opportunities in EU procurement markets — will translate into real benefits for Canadians and contribute to Canada’s long-term prosperity.”
USMCA Replaces NAFTA
With teams led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, negotiators replaced NAFTA with a new agreement, to be known as USCMCA, which Lighthizer and Freeland said in late 2018, “will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home.” The negotiations between American and Canadian officials involved offering more market access to US dairy farmers, as well as Canada agreeing to an arrangement effectively capping automobile exports to the United States.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then British Prime Minister Theresa May have jointly said the two countries are working to establish a new bilateral free trade deal to take effect after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. According to press reports, “Both leaders say the template for a deal would be the long-heralded Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.”
The Canada–EU trade deal eliminates well over 90% of all barriers in trade between Canada and the European Union, and as such provides “an excellent basis for ensuring a smooth transition” post-Brexit, Trudeau said.