Government approves EU-Canada free trade agreement

Anti-CETA protests in Warsaw, October 2016. (Reuters/Scanpix)
10/20/2016 4:26 PM
Source: BNS
Category: Business

The government approved the broad free trade agreement on Thursday to be concluded between the European Union and Canada. It authorized Estonia’s representative to the EU to sign it.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) also has to be ratified by the Riigikogu after it is signed.

CETA was the most ambitious agreement negotiated with a third country until now, the Government Office said. The agreement would enable European businesses to operate in Canada on the same terms as local companies.

For example, the agreement for the first time will open the market of public procurements of Canadian provinces and local governments to foreign partners. CETA will override 99% of customs duties, most of them as soon as the agreement enters into force, and some after a transition period of up to seven years. With regard to industrial products, fish products, wines, and spirits, the deal means full liberalization.

An easing of the rules of origin as well as mutual recognition of technical standards along with smoother phytosanitary procedures are also expected to boost trade.

The agreement will also offer European entrepreneurs new opportunities on the Canadian services market. The liberalization concerns the energy, financial services, telecommunications, and maritime transport sectors.

The European Commission expects the signing of CETA to take place on Oct. 27, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be at the EU-Canada summit. However, the signing is at risk, as the Wallonian parliament in Belgium is blocking the deal. The EU executive has given Wallonia until Friday to approve the agreement.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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