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Free trade agreement between EU and Canada soon to be reality

In October of 2015, Canada elected a new liberal majority government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. His new, diversified and gender-equal Cabinet has created a great deal of excitement and optimism both in Canada and abroad. Suddenly Canada is receiving some well-deserved attention.

The new government has presented three new priorities for investments; Innovation, Digital and Physical Infrastructure and Clean-Tech – three areas that match Swedish know-how very well. In addition, Canada is strong in the natural resource sectors such as forestry, mining, oil and gas. With the overall business costs in Canada being the lowest in the G-7 (Group of Seven), while also being the most tax competitive country in the G-7, Canada is an interesting destination for EU investors and for companies that are looking to expand abroad. Canada’s business-friendly attitude is well-known around the world and is well documented by several organizations. Both Forbes and Bloomberg claim that Canada is the best country in the G-20 (Group of Twenty) for business, and it the easiest place in the G-7 to start a business according to the World Bank. Add to this the CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), which is to be implemented in early 2017, and Canada will continue to be a high potential market going forward. 

New opportunities with CETA

Formally signed in October 2013, the CETA has been a topic of discussion and speculation for all Canadian and EU businesses conducting trade between the regions. Key objectives aim to eliminate 99% of tariffs for products between EU-Canada (of which 98% will be implemented immediately), reduce the overall costs for businesses, and minimize entry barriers. CETA also aims to unify the required market certifications between the two regions, minimizing the effort needed for a business to certify a product on the new market. 

The benefit to companies is apparent, not only reduction in costs associated with this long distance trade, but it also saves administrative time within the logistic process, opening previously restricted opportunities such as public tenders, and accelerates new product market entry. The agreement also relaxes restrictions in international employee exchange as well as recognizes intellectual property rights and protection. With trade expected to increase over 24% between the regions, many Swedish companies are now preparing their entry strategy, to gain early mover advantage once CETA is implemented in the spring of 2017. 

To learn more about how CETA will impact your business, join us for one of our breakfast seminars in Sweden between April 18 and 22. We will visit Luleå, Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö to present Canada and CETA together with Ambassador Per Sjögren and Ambassador Kenneth Macartney.

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Lydia Engholm

Trade Commissioner Toronto Trade Commissioner, Toronto
+1 647 971 8152