Riigikogu ratifies EU-Canadian free trade agreement ({{commentsTotal}})

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, EU Council President Donald Tusk and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico at the CETA signing ceremony in Brussel. Oct. 30, 2016.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, EU Council President Donald Tusk and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico at the CETA signing ceremony in Brussel. Oct. 30, 2016. Source: (Francois Lenoir/AFP/Scanpix)

The Riigikogu on Wednesday ratified the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which will give European companies the opportunity to operate under the same competition conditions as Canadian firms.

66 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 1 was against, according to a Riigikogu press release.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson said that the free trade agreement with Canada was of great importance in strengthening the unity of Western world and also gave Estonian entrepreneurs broader opportunities for entering the Canadian market.

"CETA will make it simpler for Estonian entrepreneurs to enter the Canadian market to offer their goods and services, and vice versa," Mihkelson said. The agreement will also enable access to the public procurements market.

Mihkelson expressed hope that the ratification of the agreement between the EU and Canada could be positive motivation for moving on with the free trade agreement between the EU and the U.S.

CETA will eliminate 99 per cent of customs duties between the EU and Canada. There will be total liberalization regarding manufactured articles and fish products, as well as wine and alcohol. Tariffs on export articles important to the EU, such as confectionery, baked products, and vegetables and fruits, will also be eliminated. Tariffs on certain agricultural products, such as chicken and eggs, however, will remain the same.

In addition to the lowering of tariffs, for example, simplifications in the rules of origin, simplification of the mutual recognition of technical regulations, and streamlining of the processes of sanitary and phytosanitary rules should also contribute to the stimulation of trade.

New opportunities will also open in the Canadian service market to European businesses through CETA. Liberalization will concern the energy, financial services, telecommunications and maritime transport services sectors. 

This agreement also reflects the EU's new more transparent and institutionalised approach to the protection of investments as well as to disputes relating to them, but the section of the agreement concerning the protection of investments will not be applied as yet. 

Canada has completed all ratification processes relating to CETA. Of EU member states, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Spain, Malta, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Portugal, as well as the European Parliament, have ratified the agreement.

CETA entered into force on Sept. 21.

Editor: Aili Vahtla



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