Geopolitical conditions have introduced insecurity, disrupted longstanding trading relationships, and eroded the rule of law. The year 2024 looms as a critical juncture for trade and climate policies. The U.S. gears up for a pivotal election cycle while preliminary discussions on the renewal of the CUSMA deal gain traction. Concurrently, the upcoming European Parliament elections will wield substantial influence, charting the course of the EU’s political trajectory for the ensuing half-decade. Against this backdrop, nurturing stronger bonds between Europe and Canada as well as building on the CETA trade deal becomes imperative.  

Continued instability poses concerns for European exporters and businesses operating in Canada. Challenges such as supply chain disruptions, access to raw materials, labor, regulatory shifts, policy coherence, digital infrastructure, green transition and energy security loom large as prominent global economic hurdles in the coming year. Additionally, issues like carbon border adjustments and the streamlined flow of green goods and services remain top priorities for industry leaders. EUCCAN continues to work to advance the need to pursue harmonized legislative frameworks and strategies that promote SME digitalization, raw material supply chains diversification and investments in renewable energy and green technologies. 

With the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference underway in Abu Dhabi this week, EUCCAN hopes to see progress in areas such as digital trade, dispute settlement, and an ambitious agenda for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) as pivotal outcomes.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

Trade Policy Updates

CETA: new advances announced in Brussels

The annual meeting of the CETA Joint Committee was held earlier this month in Brussels, providing an update on the implementation of the trade agreement between the European Union and Canada. European Commission Vice-President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis and Canadian Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Development Mary Ng welcomed the economic benefits of CETA for EU member states and Canada. Overall, trade in goods between the EU and Canada has increased by more than 50% since the agreement came into force in September 2017. 

The meeting was an opportunity for Canada and the European Union to announce several advances around the implementation of CETA: 

  • an agreement on the interpretation given to investment protection provisions in the CETA; 
  • the conclusion of negotiations at the technical level on rules to facilitate SMEs’ access to investment dispute settlement under CETA;
  • continued discussions to expand CETA’s protocol on good manufacturing practices for pharmaceutical products to include active pharmaceutical ingredients; and
  • continued discussions around the mutual recognition agreement for architects’ professional qualifications, with a view to its adoption. 

The EU and Canada also committed to advance the initiatives announced at the November EU-Canada Summit on Green Alliance, Digital Partnership, Economic Security and Horizon Europe as well as on other common strategic issues such as carbon neutrality, critical minerals and new technologies. The next joint committee meeting will take place in 2025 in Canada. 

Joint Statement: Sustainable economic growth in the EU and Canada through the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

For information: CETA briefing note: evolution of key economic indicators by the EU Chief Economist

Resolution by the EU Parliament 

On 16 January, the trade agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA) returned to the European Parliament for a presentation on the impact of the first 6 years of provisional application of the trade section of the agreement. A resolution, initiated by a Spanish Social Democrat MEP, in favour of rapid and definitive ratification of the agreement was adopted by a large majority (391 + 157 -) the following day.

WTO

Global Trade News

Reform the WTO to make it fit for the 21st century

Ahead of the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), a thought-provoking op-ed by EU Commissioner for Trade EVP Valdis Dombrovskis on the evolving landscape of global trade dynamics amidst geopolitical shifts underscoring a need for a reformed WTO. At MC13, Trade Ministers from across the world will attend to review the functioning of the multilateral trading system and to take action on the future work of the WTO.  

European MEPs call for urgent and substantive reform of the WTO

MEPs adopted a resolution calling for WTO members to “restore a fully functioning dispute-settlement system as swiftly as possible” at the 13th Ministerial Conference.

Debrief on the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference

The purpose of this meeting will be to present to EU civil society organisations the outcomes at the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference and exchange views on the state of play on key files after the Ministerial Conference.

EUCCAN Activites

Meetings with H. E. Zuzana Čaputová the President of the Slovak Republic & Trade Delegation Highlight Opportunities for Canadian Businesses

EUCCAN was delighted to host Her Excellency Zuzana Čaputová, President of the Slovak Republic and a delegation of Slovak businesses to deepen the international trade relationships between Slovakia and the Toronto region. EUCCAN was pleased to collaborate with the Embassy of the Slovak Republik in Canada to organize a Slovakia-Canada Business Roundtable in Ottawa and Slovakia-Canada Business Forum in Toronto. Canadian and Slovak economies share synergies and strengths in various sectors from automotive, nuclear energy, AI, energy storage, clean technology, and biotech sectors, offering ample opportunities for trade. Despite a substantial volume of imports from Slovakia to Canada ($1 billion in 2022), Canadian exports to Slovakia remain modest ($50 million in 2022), signaling room to grow for  Canadian companies to deepen engagement.

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L to R: Her Excellency Zuzana Čaputová President of the Slovak Republic, Cathy Murphy VP EUCCAN,

Factors such as positive sentiment toward Canadian businesses, established Canadian success in Slovakia, the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Slovakia’s strategic gateway status to the European market, its skilled workforce, and its electricity capacity highlight the promising prospects for Canadian entrepreneurs seeking to enter the Slovak market.

EUCCAN engages with H.E. Melita Gabrič, Ambassador of the European Union to Canada 

EUCCAN Corporate members had a very constructive and timely conversation with H.E. Melita Gabrič, Ambassador of the European Union to Canada, ahead of the Fourth CETA Joint Committee meeting tomorrow in Brussels co-chaired by Minister Ng and Executive Vice President Dombrovskis. The discussion covered ways to build on CETA and grow the EU-Canada trade relationship and other topics including competitiveness, women in STEM, gender parity, digitization, supply chains security, green transition, critical minerals, labor mobility and fostering a skilled workforce. Better trade makes the EU-Canada relationship stronger. In today’s global context, navigating trade and doing business abroad can be complex, underscoring the value of regular industry-government dialogues.

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Fragomen

EUCCAN Welcomes new sponsor: Fragomen 

Fragomen is a leading firm dedicated to immigration services worldwide. The firm has over 5,500 immigration professionals and support staff in more than 60 offices across the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. A member of the Am Law 100 and Am Law Global 100, Fragomen offers immigration support in more than 170 countries. Fragomen’s professionals are respected leaders in the immigration field, and the firm is regularly recognized as a leading employer of minority and female attorneys. 

Dr. David Crawford leads the firm’s Canadian private client practice. David also leads Fragomen’s important partnership with Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), championing the firm’s collaborative and ongoing work to support displaced talent. He currently holds the role of TBB Ambassador for Canada and represents the firm on the Global Taskforce for Refugee Job Mobility, which was established in 2022 under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and includes the Government of Canada, Australia, UNHCR, the International Chamber of Commerce, RefugePoint, TBB and Fragomen. 

Upcoming Events

Ports Conference with the Danish Chamber of Commerce

Around 80% of the volume of international trade in goods is carried by sea. Maritime transport is the backbone of global trade and ports are gateways for development, fostering economic growth and allowing countries to participate in trade.  Join us March 7th for a discussion on building resilient port infrastructure, enhanced digital solutions to protect ports against shocks, increasing operational efficiency and the role of ports in supporting the green transition. info@dccc.ca

PDAC

Europe booth at PDAC 

Please visit the EU booth 931 in the South Building and join a breakfast roundtable during EU Day on March 5.

March 5th is Europe Day at PDAC 

Access to raw materials is a strategic goal for the EU, given its ambition for the twin green and digital transition. Ensuring the supply of sustainable raw materials, in particular of critical raw materials necessary for clean technologies, digital, space and defense applications, by diversifying supply from both primary and secondary sources, is therefore one of the prerequisites to make this transition happen.

EUCCAN and members, the European Union and EU Member States will be present at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention in Toronto, Ontario, March 3 – 6, 2023, for the 7th year. Following the political agreement on the EU’s Critical Raw Materials Act at the end of 2023, this presence at PDAC is of paramount significance this year.

In the morning, the EU Networking and Business Breakfast will be opened by the EU Ambassador to Canada, Dr Melita Gabrič, and will feature a short panel where top representatives of the public and the private sectors will reflect on the achievements of the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership on raw materials. Afterwards, speakers from European industrial alliances and numerous EU Member States will present investment opportunities in their countries. Enjoy presentations from a number of EU Member State representatives from Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and industrial alliances such as the European Raw Materials Alliance and the European Battery Alliance.

EUCCAN will be there along with a number of EUCCAN members. EUCCAN President Adrian Thomas will participate in a panel discussion as part of the EU Networking and Business Breakfast Session March 5th, 8-11 at the The InterContinental Toronto Centre Hotel, 225 Front Street, West, Toronto Ballroom B (Lower Lobby Level, adjacent to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre).

Europe Booth is booth #931 (south building).

Webinar

Testing and certifying for export: benefits of Mutual Recognition Agreements on Conformity Assessment Content

Mutual Recognition Agreements are instruments that facilitate market access by reducing costs and time associated with mandatory product certification and testing as they provide for the mutual recognition between trading partners of mandatory test results and certificates for certain manufactured products. The webinar will present the opportunities provided by these agreements for EU exporters of goods to US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Switzerland.

Business and Innovation News

Horizon Europe in Canada

In November 2023, the Government of Canada closed substantive negotiations with the European Commission to join Horizon Europe as an associate country under Pillar II, which is focused on global challenges such as climate, health, culture and inclusive societies, and digital industries. While Canadians could already participate in all Horizon Europe project calls open to international partners, they can now access a broader range of research opportunities and benefits in Pillar II, as research and innovation community members of an associated country. How will Canadian researchers benefit from association to Horizon Europe, the world’s largest research and innovation programme? Read highlights of the program from Canada’s Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) in this article in Innovation News Network about this huge funding opportunity, the significance of global collaboration, and the promise of exceptional research.

Navigating Canada’s Anti-Forced Labour Act

Bennett Jones’ International Trade & Investment group investigated the transformative implications of Canada’s Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act (formerly Bill S-211). This  legislation introduces mandatory annual reporting, enhancing accountability and ethical responsibility for entities involved in importing, producing, selling or distributing goods in or outside Canada. With the first reporting deadline on May 31, 2024, this webinar explored how to fulfill the reporting obligations affecting corporations, trusts, partnerships and other organizations linked to Canada’s import and distribution activities.

Map

Other Trade News

Study: CETA, a firm-level trade assessment 

Post-CETA, most EU countries have seen a significant increase in exporters to Canada. But how FTAs affect the number of exporting firms and SMEs’ participation in trade? 

Key highlights from the study:  

  • Post-CETA, most EU countries have seen a significant increase in exporters to Canada.
  • The top 5 countries are: Finland, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and France. 
  • In absolute terms, France and Italy added around half of the total additional EU exporting firms.
  • SMEs and large firms have increased exports to Canada: the relative growth of SMEs outpaces that of large firms, between 2016-2019: 2500 additional SMEs, 450 additional large firms
  • The growth rate for SMEs (13.3%) exceeded that of large firms (10.6%), with the gap widening in 2020.
  • SMEs exporting to Canada saw significant growth between 2016 and 2020, outpacing exports to other extra-EU destinations by 50%. The increase was particularly noticeable in the first two years post-CETA.

Trade, climate and finance: Breaking the silos to drive ambitious, inclusive action

How can we as trade policy makers and experts break down silos to create ambitious and inclusive climate action? Read more on the Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate. 

Tackling global trade challenges – is multilateralism still the answer? [Recording]  EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis had an excellent exchange with WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and with representatives from EU civil society. In case you missed it you can rewatch it here. 

Europe’s make-or-break moment: Putting economic security at the heart of the EU’s 2024-2029 strategic agenda

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