Landmark EU, Canada Trade Deal Enters Into Force

EU & CANADA - The European Union and Canada began cutting import duties from Thursday on thousands of products and services in a reminder to the United Kingdom of the work it will take to replace the trade alliances it will give up when it leaves the EU.
calendar icon 22 September 2017
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The EU is hailing the deal as one of its most ambitious ever that will set a new standard for future deals, including with Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement provisionally went into effect eight years after negotiations begun. It is the EU's first major trade deal since it began implementing its South Korea agreement in 2011.

The Canada agreement is the EU's first trade pact with a G7 country, marking a success after its credibility took a beating from Britain's 2016 vote to leave the block.

It has since struck a deal with Japan and hopes for further agreements with Mexico and the Mercosur countries of South America by the end of this year.

British Conservatives in the European Parliament said on Wednesday that the EU-Canada deal would bring $1.76 billion in benefits to Britain and said they hoped CETA's benefits for Britain would continue after Brexit.

"I believe CETA will become the gold standard of agreements and one we can tailor to suit the priorities of the British and Canadian economies post-Brexit," lawmaker Emma McClarkin said in a statement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said in Ottawa on Monday that she and Canada's Justin Trudeau had agreed that CETA should be "swiftly transitioned" into a new UK-Canada deal after Brexit.

How fast that transition occurs will depend on how much post-Brexit Britain wants to tailor the deal, perhaps by including closer convergence on financial services, rather than largely copying what is in place.

CETA will abolish some 98 per cent of customs duties, open up public tenders to companies and allow the EU to export more cheese and wine and Canada more pork and beef in quotas that expand over the next six years. It affects 510 million European consumers and 35 million Canadians.

Britain and Canada will still have to create their own free trade agreement, which took the Brussels and Ottawa five years to negotiate.

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