The deal eliminates 99% of trade tariffs. It was signed at the EU’s headquarters by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council president Donald Tusk, Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is expected to save European exporters more than €500 million per year. Under CETA, Europe will be able to import hundreds of thousands of tonnes of duty-free Canadian meat. But all the meat Europe imports from Canada has to satisfy EU rules, which means Canadian meat exports must be free from growth-promoting drugs, outlawed by the EU in 1981.
The EU is the largest global market for agricultural goods, with exports worth €128.1bn and imports valued at €113.1bn.
‘Better promise for future’
Katie Doherty, policy and operations manager at the International Meat Trade Association, said the free trade agreement (FTA) would enhance the competitiveness of EU beef and pork exporters in Canada.
“The signing of the CETA FTA is good news for EU importers and exporters alike,” Doherty told GlobalMeatNews.
“Upon implementation of the agreement, EU exporters of beef and pork will benefit from unlimited duty-free access to the Canadian market, no longer having to compete with other countries under quotas for access to the Canadian market. EU importers of beef and pork will likely not see as immediate a benefit until Canadian producers decide whether to gear themselves for supplying the EU market.
“Although when they do, the benefits will be sizeable with TRQs (tariff-rate quotas) for access to the EU market. It is important that this FTA has succeeded, leaving better promise for future EU FTAs in a world with growing anti-free trade sentiment.”
Canadian meat products face significant tariff and non-tariff trade barriers when entering the EU market. The agreement of the CETA, which will see these barriers removed, was welcomed by the president of the Canadian Meat Council (CMC).
“The Canadian meat industry supports a CETA that allows for trade in meat products consistent with the provisions of the Canadian and EU tariff schedules that were envisaged and agreed by the negotiators,” said CMC president Troy Warren in a press statement. “However, commercially viable access will be realised only when the associated technical negotiations have been concluded successfully.
“The meat industry is engaged in active partnership with the Canadian government toward the achievement of the commercially viable market access commitment. We would ask that the Canadian and EU governments move forward quickly and simultaneously on both the ratification of the CETA and the prerequisite resolution of the outstanding technical barriers.”
More jobs in meat
Once the technical barriers are addressed and the deal is ratified, Canada will see a surge in duty-free exports. Some 81,011 tonnes (t) of pork, 64,950t of beef and veal, 3,000t of bison meat, as well as unlimited exports of horsemeat and prepared meats are included in the FTA.
The EU is expected to retain unlimited duty-free access to Canadian pork. It will also win unlimited tariff-free access to beef and veal and reciprocal unlimited duty-free access for prepared meats.
Canada’s meat industry is the largest component of the country’s food processing sector, with annual sales of CA$24bn, exports of CA$5.7bn and 65,000 jobs. Canada is expected to see more jobs in the meat sector as a result of the CETA deal, the CMC said.