6 May 2009
At the Canada-EU Summit on May 6, 2009 in Prague, Czech Republic, leaders announced the launch of negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement. The first round of negotiations will take place as soon as possible.
Together with provinces and territories, and in consultation with Canadian stakeholders, the Government of Canada has prepared a detailed negotiating mandate. Canada and the EU agree that we should be seeking an ambitious agreement, and will negotiate a wide range of areas, including trade in goods, technical trade barriers, trade facilitation, customs procedures and rules of origin, trade in services, investment, central and sub-central government procurement, food safety and animal and plant health measures, regulatory co-operation, intellectual property, competition policy, dispute settlement and sustainable development.
The EU is the world’s largest exporter of goods and services, while one in five Canadian jobs is estimated to be linked to trade. Their openness to the global economy is a key factor underlying this prosperity and is a powerful stimulus to competition, innovation and growth.
Economic relations between the EU and Canada are long-standing. In 2008, two-way merchandise trade totalled $90.4 billion, up seven per cent from 2007. The EU is Canada’s second largest export market, after the United States. Canadian merchandise exports to the EU were up 3.5 per cent in 2008, reaching $36.4 billion. The investment relationship is even stronger: the EU is Canada’s second most important investment partner and Canada the EU’s fourth most important investment partner.
In October 2008, the EU and Canada released their joint study "Assessing the Costs and Benefits of a Closer EU-Canada Economic Partnership". The study indicated that the liberalisation of trade in goods and services has the potential to give a $12 billion boost to the Canadian economy and increase bilateral trade by over 20 percent.
While the federal government negotiates and enters into international treaties, the provinces and territories are responsible for implementing the treaty obligations that fall within their jurisdiction, including through enacting legislation, as required. For this reason, the Government of Canada will provide a process for the participation of the provinces and territories and ensure that their views are fully taken into account in the development of Canadian negotiating positions, both before and during these negotiations.
The private sectors in both the EU and Canada have shown strong public support for an ambitious and comprehensive economic agreement, both publicly and in response to the consultations undertaken by both parties in the framework of the joint study. They believe advancing a closer economic partnership would send a powerful pro-growth signal to investors and businesses within the EU and Canada as well as internationally.
A bilateral agreement with the EU could deliver commercial benefits across many sectors of the Canadian economy, including aerospace, chemicals, wood products, automotive vehicles and parts, agricultural products, and transportation and other business services.