EU Parliament approves CETA

Free trade agreement EU Parliament approves CETA

The European Parliament has approved the CETA trade agreement by a large majority. The ratification process in the member states can now begin. Those aspects of the agreement falling exclusively within EU competency will provisionally be applied as of April 2017.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Brigitte Zypries said the European Parliament’s decision was a "milestone in Canadian-European economic relations". CETA is the most advanced trade agreement we have ever had, she argued, adding that it also codifies shared values. CETA reaffirms our social and environmental standards and protects European and Canadian specialties and achievements. It thus shows all our partners that we Europeans stand together and resolutely champion fair and open trade relations, the Minister said.

CETA: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
The EU and Canada negotiated the terms of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between 2009 and 2014. It is intended to help reduce existing customs duties and improve access for both sides to markets for goods and services. In late October 2016, the EU member states and the Canadian government signed the agreement. Now that the EU Parliament has approved the trade agreement, ratification procedures can begin in the member states.

Improved market access

CETA is an important contribution to economic development in Europe and in Canada. EU-based companies will gain access to public procurement contracts in Canada, and to services and investment markets. This can secure and create a large number of jobs.

Agreements like CETA give Europeans the opportunity to make globalisation a positive force. It is synonymous with global trade governed by sustainable rules and high social and environmental standards.

CETA offers the EU and its member states huge advantages: the agreement will do away with practically all customs duties, saving European exporters up to 470 million euros a year. EU-based businesses will also be granted easier access to public procurement contracts in Canada and to Canada’s markets for services and investment.

Modern investment protection

CETA for the first time anchors modern investment protection with transparent, public investment courts. In the social and environmental sectors it protects European and Canadian standards – from regional specialities to basic public services and cultural diversity.

CETA is a "mixed" agreement. It must be approved by national and regional parliaments. Only those aspects of the agreement falling exclusively within EU competency can provisionally be applied as of April 2017. Only once the member states have ratified CETA according to their national constitutional law will the entire agreement enter into force. This process is expected to take several years. In Germany the agreement must be ratified by the German Bundestag with the participation of the Bundesrat or second chamber of the parliament.