EU-Canada trade agreement: Council adopts decision to sign CETA
Veronica Huertas Cerdeira
Press officer (Home affairs; Counter-terrorism coordination)
On 28 October 2016, the Council adopted by written procedure a package of decisions on the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with Canada (CETA), including:
- a decision on signature of the agreement
- a decision on the provisional application of the agreement
- a decision to request the consent of the European Parliament for the conclusion of the agreement
The representatives of the member states also adopted a joint interpretative instrument. This instrument, which is a joint text with Canada, will provide a binding interpretation of CETA´s terms on specific issues.
"I am delighted to confirm that the EU is ready to sign the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with Canada. It represents a milestone in the EU's trade policy and our commitment to it" said Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia, currently holding the EU Council presidency. "The CETA represents a modern and progressive deal, opening the door to new opportunities, while protecting important interests. Moreover, it has the potential to set the way forward for future trade deals."
CETA will remove more than 99% of tariffs that are currently imposed on trade between the EU and Canada. It sets high standards for consumer, environmental and labour protection.
The agreement includes provisions on market access for goods, services, investment and government procurement, as well as on intellectual property rights, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, sustainable development, regulatory cooperation, mutual recognition, trade facilitation, cooperation on raw materials, dispute settlement and technical barriers to trade.
The negotiations with Canada were conducted on the basis of a mandate agreed by the Council in 2009. Following a Council decision in September 2011, talks on investment protection were also started within the CETA framework.
On 5 July 2016, the Commission proposed that the deal be signed and concluded as a "mixed" agreement. This means that on the EU side, it must be signed by both the EU and the member states, and ratified by all relevant national and regional parliaments.
The agreement will be applied on a provisional basis once the European Parliament has consented to its conclusion, pending ratification by all of the member states. Provisional application will concern essentially the provisions of EU exclusive competence.
Strategic partnership agreement
The Council has also adopted a decision on the signing and provisional application of a strategic partnership agreement between the EU and Canada. This agreement seeks to deepen political dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Canada and will strengthen relations in fields such as human rights, international peace and security, economic and sustainable development, justice, freedom and security.