Agreement to open up Canada – EU trade delayed

Agreement to open up Canada – EU trade delayed

Agreement to open up Canada – EU trade delayed Canadian insurers looking forward to a more competitive industry with the introduction of their European counterparts might find their enthusiasm all for nothing. The formal ratification of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) appears to be up in the air, with the EU deciding to submit the deal to a committee for approval.

The goal of the CETA is to revoke nearly 9,000 tariffs on trade items such as industrial and agricultural goods, as well as foodstuffs like beef and fish. The CETA also promises to open up competition in the services sector, which includes banking and insurance. Negotiations for the accord began as far back as May 2009.

Brussels and Canada finally completed the CETA deal in February, with the former hoping to see the trade agreement signed on October to coincide with an EU-Canada summit. Last month, however, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström chose to submit the deal for approval to over 30 national and regional parliaments from the EU, claiming that such an important decision should not be decided only by Brussels.

Britain’s vote last June to leave the EU may also have had an impact on the deal’s approval. The country was one of the most devoted supporters of such trade pacts in the EU, but the previous referendum’s results have weakened Britain’s voice in the Union. Britain’s pending exit also leaves Canada with one less EU-based trade partner. According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.K. is Canada’s biggest trading partner in the EU, by far. Trade with Canada came to $92.5 billion last year, Canada’s national statistics agency said, and the U.K. accounted for over a quarter of that total.

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