CETA: A Year in the Making
This guest blog post is provided by the Business Women in International Trade (BWIT), a program within the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) at Global Affairs Canada, which supports Canadian women entrepreneurs as they pursue opportunities in international markets.
September 21st, 2018 marked a momentous day: the first anniversary of the provisional application of the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This historic trade agreement sets new standards for trade in goods and services, non-tariff barriers, investment, government procurement, and other areas like labour and the environment, making it one of Canada's most ambitious trade initiatives to date.
One of the advantages of CETA is that 98% of EU tariff lines are now duty-free for Canadian goods, allowing Canadian exporters to benefit from preferential access to the EU. This has boosted trade and enhanced Canada-EU business ties in a wide variety of sectors. For example, since the agreement came into force (comparing 12 months ending on September 2018 and September 2017), Canadian exports of aluminum have increased by 279.8%, thanks largely to exports of non-alloyed unwrought aluminum. Exports of motor vehicles and parts to the EU have increased by 81.1% over the same period, and a number of agrifood products like blueberries and maple syrup have also seen substantial gains.
The EU is the world's second largest economy, and is currently Canada's second largest trading partner. It is also the world's second largest market for imported goods — the EU's annual imports are valued at more than Canada's GDP. The opportunities for Canadian SMEs to grow by accessing this market remain undeniable, offering a real competitive edge in expanding abroad.
On September 26, 2018, Canada and the EU, leaders on gender equality and women's economic empowerment, adopted a Recommendation on Trade and Gender with the aim of making CETA more inclusive, through cooperation activities to improve the capacity and conditions for women to access and fully benefit from the opportunities created by CETA.
The Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) will work with you on an ongoing basis, by helping you prepare for international markets, assess your market potential, find qualified contacts and resolve market access problems. SMEs seeking to develop new export opportunities in Europe can apply for financial assistance through the TCS's CanExport program. Since January 2016, this multi-year funding program has provided financial assistance to over 1,200 SME-led projects in emerging markets and in markets where Canada enjoys a free-trade agreement.
The Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) is another program of the TCS, providing targeted support to Canadian women business enterprises (WBEs) seeking to expand their businesses into new markets. A women-owned business is at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women. BWIT has already completed its first European trade mission in November with participation from Canadian WBEs from multiple sectors wanting to export to Europe's lucrative market. The mission, with stops in Hamburg, Stuttgart, and London, offered delegates the chance to gain new business relationships and prospects, obtain market research, participate in networking events as well as an international conference, and implement marketing efforts to raise brand awareness. It also led to a Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and Germany's business women associations, WEOC and the VdU, thereby solidifying Canada's ties to Germany.
In addition to planning trade missions, BWIT offers other enhanced products and services to support Canadian women entrepreneurs. These include a dynamic website where you will find valuable information and tools such as an export-readiness quiz, an active BWIT LinkedIn group, and a monthly and annual newsletter. Email us to learn more.
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