We all win with CETA

Since becoming Chargé d’affaires of Canada in Slovakia in 2016, I have been impressed by the depth of the friendship and connections between our two countries. Our strong relationship became even closer on September 21st, when the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – known as CETA - came into effect through provisional application. 98% of all tariff lines between Canada and the EU are now duty-free.

This is good news for businesses and consumers in both of our countries. We are very grateful to the Government of Slovakia for its support for CETA during the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which played a key role in achieving the signature of CETA at the Canada-EU Summit on October 30, 2016 in Brussels.

Trade between the EU and Canada is already significant but CETA is a game changer that will benefit everyone. Slovaks can enjoy better access to high-quality Canadian timber, seafood products, medical devices and delicacies like maple syrup. Canadians will save on imports from Slovakia, including automobiles, machinery, furniture, glassware, textiles, footware and other goods. Slovakia ranks as one of the most open economies in the world, and has become a highly successful manufacturing and exporting nation. Canadian imports from Slovakia totalled CDN$519.3 million in 2016. CETA will allow trade between Slovakia and Canada to grow even higher and faster, creating better-paying middle class jobs in both countries.

CETA is creating new economic opportunities for both Canadian and Slovak businesses, including  unprecedented access to public procurement. Businesses – smaller companies in particular - will benefit from greater legal certainty, better mobility for company employees, and more streamlined rules and procedures.

But CETA is about more than just economic benefits. It is a progressive trade agreement – one that aims to shape globalization in a positive way.  Part of the reason that CETA is so ground-breaking is that it ensures that economic growth goes hand in hand with workers’ rights and high levels of environmental protection. It also protects the ability of governments to maintain strong public services and to regulate in the public interest.

CETA sends an unmistakable signal that Canada and the EU believe in open societies and open economies; the two go together and will lead to greater prosperity for all of our citizens through new investments, new businesses and new jobs, while protecting governments’ right to regulate and to deliver key public services. It also demonstrates that despite the unrest and uncertainty in many parts of the world, we continue to build bridges and we remain open to the world.

The best and most enduring relationships - whether between people or countries - are those that are mutually beneficial. The ties between our countries are strong. Canada and Slovakia, and Canada and Europe, are close friends and strategic partners, and share common values, such as freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, and a commitment to worth together to combat climate change and defend our free and democratic societies. Now, with CETA, Canada, Slovakia and the EU have set the standard for a new generation of trade agreements that reflect the values that we share for the benefit of all.

With CETA, we are all winners.

John von Kaufmann is Chargé d’Affaires at the Office of the Embassy of Canada in Bratislava. For further information regarding how CETA can help your business import from or invest in Canada, please go to http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/ceta-aecg/index.aspx?lang=eng or contact our office.

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