Canada-EU trade deal presents opportunity: C.D. Howe

By Staff | August 15, 2013 | Last updated on August 15, 2013
2 min read

Canada’s potential trade deal with the European Union, if it is ambitious, could generate far more opportunities than risks, according to a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.

Read: U.S. to gain more than EU in trade deal

In “Uneasy Birth: What Canadians Should Expect from a Canada-EU Trade Deal,” Daniel Schwanen outlines what would be a good deal for Canada, and suggests how negotiators can address the potentially negative impacts identified by critics. He also sets the issue in the wider context of Canada’s trade with the world. “We are nearing a turning point for Canadian trade policy, whether a deal is reached in the next few weeks, or not,” said Schwanen. “The issues involved are global: it is a good test case for how Canada will adapt to emerging trade realities.”

A comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA) would build a dynamic platform for Canadians to engage in trade with the EU, in a world increasingly characterized by trade in tasks, notes the author. To do this, says Schwanen, the CETA needs to address services trade, intellectual property, regulatory cooperation, and investments, in addition to removing traditional barriers such as tariffs and discrimination in public sector procurement.

Read: U.S. trade deals driven by geopolitical aims: FT

The paper reviews a deal’s prospective benefits to Canada — through market access for Canadian goods, services, skilled personnel and investors — building on the more than 375,000 jobs supported by Canada’s current trade with the EU. Canadians would also benefit as taxpayers and consumers.

Critics have been very vocal — without having seen the agreement — about a presumed loss of policy room to maneuver, says Schwanen. The paper explains that these concerns are either exaggerated, and out of line with experience with trade agreements, or can be addressed through careful drafting. Schwanen concludes the potential trade deal deserves support, although not unconditionally: the key for Canadians is how many new opportunities it creates for them. “If anything,” concludes Schwanen, “the danger is that the agreement would not open markets enough.”

Click here for the full report.

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