Passing of Corrado Paina

It is with deep sadness that EUCCAN learns of the news of the passing of Corrado Paina, a  longtime champion and supporter of EUCCAN. Corrado was a larger than life figure, not only as one of EUCCAN’s Board members and a pillar of our community but also as a man of immense culture, extraordinary intellect and great vision. A great champion of trade between Ontario and Europe, his extensive work at the Italian Chamber (ICCO) led to the opening of ICCO chapters in Italy and to many successful trade initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic.

At EUCCAN his contribution to the Executive Committee and strategic planning was invaluable.

On behalf of the President Adrian Thomas and the Board of Directors, our heartfelt condolences go out to Corrado’s family and to all who had the immense privilege of knowing him.

Global Trade Outlook

 

In the latest “Global Trade Outlook” report by the World Trade Organization, economists predict a rebound in global trade for 2024. Despite a challenging environment, the WTO foresees a gradual recovery in world merchandise trade volume in 2024 and 2025. This follows a contraction in 2023 driven by the lingering effects of high energy prices and inflation in advanced economies, particularly Europe. 

A few highlights from the report

  • Projected growth of 2.6% in the volume of merchandise trade in 2024
  • Global trade of commercial services grew 9% in 2023 
  • Downside risks include geopolitical tensions, policy uncertainty and increased protectionism, which could limit the extent of the trade rebound by causing further price spikes in food and energy prices. 

“It is clear that geopolitics are affecting trade patterns, with 30% less growth in bilateral trade between the U.S. and China than in their trade with the rest of world since 2018.”

Trade Policy Updates

MC13 

“Despite the more than challenging context, we concluded MC13 with 10 consensus multilateral ministerial decisions and declarations,” WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told ambassadors to the WTO on March 21. “That’s why I personally see the glass as half full.” 

The reality is that the glass is quite a lot less than half full, as agreed by a number of Chambers of Commerce worldwide. “Overselling the result may be unhelpful because it may encourage complacency. WTO Members can and should do better. And they should start working on that now” said ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton.

Overall, from an industry perspective, while some positive steps were taken, the failure to make progress on key issues like agriculture, fisheries subsidies, environmental sustainability, outcomes for the digital economy, was a disappointment. The WTO faces significant challenges in the current geopolitical environment. “We need to be clear that the largely disappointing outcome to this ministerial is not a failure of the WTO – it is, rather, a failure on the part of governments to make the common-sense compromises needed to get trade- and welfare-enhancing deals over the line. The quick take is that base domestic politics have trumped effective international cooperation this week in Abu Dhabi”.

WTO members concluded the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi on 2 March with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration setting out a forward-looking, reform agenda for the organization. Ministers also took a number of ministerial decisions, including renewing the commitment to have a fully and well-functioning dispute settlement system by 2024 and to improve use of the special and differential treatment (S&DT) provisions for developing and least developed countries (LDCs). They also agreed to continue negotiations in all areas where convergence was elusive at MC13. 

MC13 ends with decisions on dispute reform, development; commitment to continue ongoing talks

CETA vote In France 

The French Senate overwhelmingly voted against ratifying the EU-Canada trade deal (CETA) in a vote of 211 to 44. This was an unusual alliance between left-wing and right-wing opponents of President Macron’s government, which had previously approved the deal in the National Assembly. 

The main reasons cited for the Senate’s rejection were concerns over food safety standards. Certain groups also raised concerns over access to the Canadian market and regulations. While the Senate’s rejection is a setback for the government, it does not automatically nullify the CETA agreement, as under EU rules the government would need to officially notify the EU of the rejection for it to take effect. 

The government has not indicated how it will proceed, but one option is to take the treaty back to the National Assembly for a fresh debate and vote. 

The deal has been provisionally in force since 2017, even though 10 EU countries haven’t yet ratified it. Last month the European Commission again urged EU countries to give it the green light.

France’s political opposition and farmer lobbies have opposed CETA for years, presenting it as a threat to French farmers. French exports to Canada, however, increased by 33 percent between 2017 and 2023, according to data from the French foreign ministry.

“Today is a very bad day for our economy, for our business, for our exporters, for our farmers,” the country’s trade minister, Franck Riester, told senators after the vote.

The immediate consequence is that France’s lower chamber, the National Assembly, will again have its say on the deal. The Assembly approved it back in 2019, but things have since changed with Macron’s party having lost seats to opponents who oppose free trade, making the outcome of a second ballot uncertain. 

The trade part of the deal will remain in force despite the vote as it falls within the exclusive competence of the European Commission. Senators meanwhile backed the chapter on facilitating investments between the EU and Canada, which will only take effect after it is ratified by parliaments in each EU country.

UKCTA 

As of 1 April 2024, certain clauses for EU Cumulation and origin quotas in the UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement (TCA) have expired. In the UKCTA , the UK and Canada agreed time-limited clauses for ‘EU cumulation’ and origin quotas. 

What does this mean for businesses? From 1 April 2024, UK exporters cannot consider EU inputs as originating when exporting to Canada. Traders must ensure that products still meet the Rules of Origin set out in Annex 5 of the TCA after this change if they want to benefit from preferential access. Also, the alternative rules set out in Annex 5-A (Origin Quotas and Alternatives to the Product Specific Rules of Origin in Annex 5) no longer apply, and producers must meet the Rules of Origin set out in Annex 5 of the TCA. Read more.

SMEs & Regulatory Updates

New law on reporting forced-labour sows confusion over who the legislation covers 

The introduction of Bill S-211, aimed at enhancing supply chain transparency, has generated a fair amount of questions for Canadian businesses. Many ask what needs to be reported, when etc. This is impacting SMEs in particular.

EVENTS

Greece’s Prime Minister visits Canada and engages with EUCCAN director

During March 23-26, Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Montreal and Toronto. He led a delegation of three cabinet Ministers and key advisors during an extensive meetings program with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, corporate and financial investors, Canadian banks, rating agencies, and Greek-Canadian local communities. He oversaw the signing ceremony of the Greek Government’s purchase of seven firefighter aircrafts by Canadian company De Havilland. He highlighted successful Canadian investments in Greece, such as Fairfax and El Dorado Gold. He also highlighted Greek investments in Canada, such as MYTILINEOS’ $1 Billion investment in renewables in Alberta. He spoke to a sold-out event of the Economic Club of Canada.

Picture1
Picture1

On #CETA, during the PM’s interview with CTV’s Vassy Kapelos, he explained that his government believes in the value of the bilateral free trade opportunities and will continue working with the Canadian government to resolve the issue of import quotas on made-in-Greece feta cheese – the only sticking point holding up ratification. He also expressed Greece’s interest in importing LNG from Canada, as Greece is host to strategic re-gasification terminals and storage assets for Europe. Finally (and pictured here), EUCCAN’s executive committee board of director member Vasileios Tsianos and the Hellenic Canadian Board of Trade co-hosted the Prime Minister’s address in Toronto to a sold-out event of 1,200 attendees on the evening of March 25 – Greece’s Independence Day anniversary.

EUCCAN at PDAC

EUCCAN President was honoured to share the 🇪🇺 🇨🇦 stage at PDAC2024 and speak to the importance of the bilateral trade relationship. The Canada EU SP brings:
1) a mechanism to discuss priorities and enhance global security.
2) scale and predictability, the opportunity to de-risk and reduce dependencies.

The EU is moving fast on the Critical Materials Act. With speed and scale, it is important to synchronize energy deployments with the materials needed. Targets must be supported by clean tech and materials. Canada is attractive for EU companies:  ESG standards, like-minded.
Capital is not enough. Companies need recurring business and need to be able to localize costs of materials.

CGIA Canada’s State of Trade

This year’s edition of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute‘s State of Trade focused on “Charting Canada’s Trade Path Amidst Growing Regionalism”. The event took place in Ottawa on April 11.

The EU panel discussion was titled “EU Trade Activism: Is Canada squeezed between the U.S. unilateralism and the Brussels Effect?” For those who missed the live event, stay tuned for the recordings and insights by Frederick Morency Schneider Electric, Vasileios TsianosNeo Performance Materials, Karina Häuslmeier Embassy of Germany to Canada, Andre von Walter Delegation of the European Union to Canada. Claire Citeau

Picture1
Picture1
Picture1

As background, the Brussels Effect is used to describe the European Union’s ability to shape global regulatory standards and norms through its regulations and policies, even beyond its borders. The term was coined by Anu Bradford, the author of “The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World.” The book explores the EU’s significant influence on global markets and regulations despite not having traditional political or military power comparable to other major players like the U.S. or China. Experts agree that the EU’s regulatory power is derived mostly from its large consumer base. To access this lucrative market, companies comply with EU regulations, which sets global benchmarks. For some time, the Brussels Effect was an unintended by-product of a regulatory agenda that was driven by internal motivations (single market integration). More recently, a conscious external agenda has emerged alongside this internal agenda.  When elected, Ursula von der Leyen promised that under her leadership, the Commission will further strengthen the use of trade tools in support of NTPOs (Non trade Policy Objectives), which is enshrined in the Treaty on European Union (TEU). In her ‘Agenda for Europe’, she stressed, “Trade is not an end in itself. It is a means to deliver prosperity at home and to export our values across the world” including “the highest standards of climate, environmental and labour protection, with a zero-tolerance policy on child labour”.

EUCCAN at Breakfast Event with Canada and France’s Trade Ministers in Ottawa

EUCCAN was delighted to attend the Canada-France Business Breakfast event in Ottawa. This special event was held in recognition of the visit by the French Prime Minister and his ministers in Ottawa. The French delegation represented key sectors including education, foreign trade, economic appeal, energy resources, as well as Francophonie and French Nationals Abroad. Canadian representatives were also present to deliberate on the strong economic relations between Canada and France, in addition to our prospects regarding future collaboration.

EUCCAN Strengthens Ties with European Business Associations in Brussels

During a recent visit to Brussels, EUCCAN representative Claire Citeau met with senior officials from BusinessEurope and Eurochambres, the leading business associations in Europe. The discussions focused on strengthening cooperation in a changing global context, upcoming elections in Europe and North America, implementation and ratification of the CETA as well as aligning advocacy efforts to further enhance the EU-Canada trade and investment relationship. EUCCAN emphasized the need for renewed ambition on the Canada-EU partnership, particularly in areas such as critical raw materials, government procurement, and labor mobility. The meetings underscored the shared priorities of the European and Canadian business communities in driving the Canada-EU agenda forward. EUCCAN will continue to work closely with its counterparts in Europe to ensure the interests of its members are effectively represented.

Upcoming Events

April 25 – Toronto

Women in Trade. Lessons from Canada and the EU on the use of trade promotion policies and instruments including #CETA to support #womeninbusiness, #womenintrade and #womenentrepreneurs.

RSVP: pdsf@eucandialogues.eu

Preliminary reading material: 2023 State of Trade report on Inclusive Trade, by the Office of the Chief Economist at Global Affairs Canada | Affaires mondiales Canada: https://lnkd.in/ehmt4VmF

April 25 – Toronto

Harnessing Technologies for Disaster and Emergency Response: insights and experiences from Central Europe. 

Organized at the occasion of the Czech Deputy Prime Minister’s mission to Canada, the forum will be held in Toronto on April 25, 9AM. Register here https://lnkd.in/eUmhikXr 

Join us to network with the Czech businesses, leading government representatives and experts responsible for cybersecurity, fire rescue services, police services, disaster and emergency response, and learn about the current priorities and technologies in security in Central Europe.
The business delegation led by the Vice President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce will present related solutions in cybersecurity, IT services, health and sustainability.

Did you know?

Did you know that Italy stands tall as the top producer of pasta worldwide?  With an impressive 61% export percentage and a total value of 3.8 billion euros, Italy’s pasta industry is a force to be reckoned with. 

Made with high-quality Canadian wheat. Italians have depended on Canadian Durum wheat for pasta production for more than a century. Buon appetito! 🥂🍝🇮🇹