Montreal, 10 June 2009 - EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Stockwell Day, Canadian Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, set in motion negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that could provide up to EUR 20 bn per year in additional benefits to the two economies. Commissioner Ashton and Minister Day met at the Conference de Montreal, where both spoke at a plenary session on the economic crisis and international trade. The two agreed that the first full round of formal negotiations for the CETA, at senior official level, should take place in October.
Commissioner Ashton said: “The EU and Canada are trading partners with close historical ties, and our ambitions for this agreement must reflect the depth of our relationship. We come to the table prepared to discuss all subjects of interest to either of us. There will be difficult issues, but we are convinced that the ultimate prize justifies the effort as we seek to trade our way out of the economic downturn.”
Minister Day said: “This first meeting represents a solid step toward a historic economic agreement between Canada and Europe. These negotiations are a priority for our government. Canadian officials have met their EU counterparts a number of times and are in regular contact with them. The importance of trade is front and centre as we go through this global economic downturn. That is why our governments are working together to reduce trade barriers and open doors for business.”
This agreement will seek to create a maximum of new opportunities for economic growth in Europe and Canada. A joint scoping exercise showed that the two sides would both benefit from a comprehensive agreement covering trade in goods and services, investment, public procurement, the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, and commitments on the social and environmental aspects of trade and sustainable development. Member States of the EU are fully committed to concluding an ambitious bilateral agreement with Canada, and the EU welcomes the commitment given by Canada’s provinces to the negotiating process.
Goods and services trade between the EU and Canada is now worth some EUR 70 billion annually. Canada's exports to the EU include chemicals, transport equipment, metals, minerals, machinery, paper products and processed foods. Key EU exports to Canada include machinery and equipment, chemicals, motor vehicles and parts, transport equipment, petroleum, beverages and processed foods. Transportation, travel and business services are the main services traded between the EU and Canada.
The EU is Canada's second-largest source of foreign investment. As of 2007, the EU's direct investment stock in Canada reached EUR 160 billion, while Canada's investment stock in the EU was worth EUR 108 billion, making it our fourth largest source of foreign investment.