Europe’s MEPs approved on February 15, 2017 the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.
As a result of the positive vote, the vast majority of the CETA may come into force provisionally on a date set by Canada and the European Union, pending ratification by the Member States of the European Union. Canada and the European Union should soon begin talks to finalize the details on how the agreement will come into force provisionally.
Christine St-Pierre, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, attended the debates before the CETA vote in Strasbourg and will represent the Government of Québec at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's speech to Europe’s MEPs on Thursday.
"Today, a crucial step was taken in the process that will see the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union officially come into force. We have said it before; free trade is a powerful vector of economic development that will benefit businesses and workers on both sides of the Atlantic. It is important to recognize the exemplary commitment and mobilization that has driven the efforts in recent years by the Québec and Canadian governments and their European partners to pull off this ambitious project."
Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec
“To guarantee their growth, Québec businesses need to expand into new markets. Our government’s role is to create business opportunities that will help these businesses capture new markets. The European Union, which accounts for more than 20% of global GDP and has around 500 million consumers, is an excellent development opportunity for our businesses. I would like to point out once again that Québec is one of the instigators of this trade agreement. Pierre Marc Johnson, former Premier of Québec, served as Québec’s chief negotiator to advocate Québec’s interests and promote the benefits of CETA to our businesses.”
Dominique Anglade, Minister of the Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy
“In recent months, Québec’s political authorities and its representative offices in Europe, especially the Québec Government Office in Brussels, have worked relentlessly to make Europe’s MEPs aware of the benefits of the Agreement in specific and strategic ways. The result of today's vote shows that our efforts bore fruit and I am pleased about it. We will continue on this path until we successfully reach the final step, which is ratification by the Member States of the European Union.”
Christine St-Pierre, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie
“This agreement will foster economic development by stimulating Québec’s exports of biofood products, particularly pork products, maple products, organic products, seafood products, processed products and small fruits. We have high-quality cheese products that will be able to reach new consumers even more easily when the market is opened. Our government, and particularly its Québec Export Strategy, will create visibility for our products in Europe’s 28 countries. As for supply-managed sectors, the Government of Québec continues to take every opportunity to highlight this system's importance and the necessity of maintaining the conditions that allow it to run smoothly.”
Laurent Lessard, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
• For more information about CETA, click here.
• In 2006, Québec played a prominent role in the decision by Canada and the EU to consider an economic partnership. Political efforts and initiatives by Jean Charest, then Premier of Québec, made EU and Canadian authorities aware of the importance of strengthening economic ties between the two trading partners.
• On September 26, 2014, Canada and the EU announced the official end of negotiations over the Agreement.
• On February 29, 2016, both Parties announced that the legal review of the Agreement had been completed. It is now available in the 23 official languages.
• CETA was signed on October 30, 2016.
• The European Parliament approved the agreement today.
• Since CETA was presented as a "mixed" agreement, all 28 EU Member States have to ratify it.
• Québec has been a keen proponent of this agreement since its early stages and has made its implementation an international priority.