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CETA 3 Year Anniversary: Success and challenges for CETA in a time of COVID

On 21 September 2020, the Canada EU Trade and Investment Association (CEUTIA) and the European Services Forum (ESF), together with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and CERT, hosted a high level webinar to mark the 3rd year anniversary of the provisional application of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

The Honourable Mary Ng, Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, delivered the keynote address. Other speakers included Rupert Schlegelmilch (Director, DG Trade, European Commission), Ailish Campbell (Chief Trade Commissioner of Canada), Esther Nieto-Hernandez (Deputy Head of Unit, DG Trade) and Stephane Lambert (Counsellor & Head of Trade, Mission of Canada to the EU).


All speakers agreed that CETA was proving to be very successful, with significant increases in 2-way trade in goods and services. There was also agreement that more can be achieved under CETA, with Canadian and EU speakers detailing ongoing efforts to advance this “living agreement” and help businesses take advantage of this historic agreement. The importance of ensuring that CETA works effectively for SMEs – the engine to growth in both Canada and the EU – was also stressed.

It was noted that multiple committee meetings on technical matters relating to regulatory cooperation and specific issues aimed at providing advice to exporters were being addressed under CETA. Concerns about some remaining barriers to trade (particularly in the agriculture sector) were also acknowledged.

The speakers used the occasion to stress how CETA fits into the challenging global context of increasing protectionism and anti-globalization forces in this time of the Covid virus. The EU speakers also flagged how CETA fits strategically into their ongoing broader trade policy review.

Finally, Minister Ng updated participants on the Canada-UK trade talks noting that Canada’s priority now is to pin down a transitional agreement to ensure continuity and stability of Canada-UK trade.

The event was moderated by ESF Chairman Noel Clehane with CEUTIA President Mark Camilleri delivering the closing remarks.

A press release from Minister Ng’s statement can be accessed here.



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