Québec: Europe – North America trade hub
The Québec government has welcomed on 21 September 2017 the entry into force of nearly all the provisions contained in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This historic agreement will provide privileged access to a market of 500 million consumers and result in substantial economic benefits for Québec. It is a major diplomatic, political and economic gain for Québec, which played a decisive role in the Canada-EU negotiations.
Québec’s economy is highly dependent on access to external markets. Indeed, interprovincial and international exports account for 46.7% of Québec’s GDP. According to the joint study conducted by Canada and the EU in 2008, CETA will lead to economic benefits of approximately 2.2 billion dollars annually in terms of GDP and the creation of 16,000 new jobs in Québec.
“As part of a strategy aimed at market diversification, CETA will benefit both Québec’s multinationals and SMEs by providing a framework favourable to increasing their exports to Europe, our second largest trading partner after the United States, by giving them a major competitive edge. CETA’s implementation will certainly encourage investments and foster numerous possibilities for partnerships and business opportunities, thereby resulting in substantial economic benefits for Québec. A new era has therefore begun in our trade relations with European Union member countries.”
Dominique Anglade, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy
“CETA makes Canada one of the only countries in the world to have a free-trade agreement with the planet’s two largest economic blocs: the European and American markets. The European Union is the leading global economy and represents an essential market for Québec. This new agreement will unquestionably enable us not only to maintain our longstanding privileged relations with Europe, but also to consolidate and reinforce them.”
Christine St-Pierre, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie
“Québec will enjoy major gains, especially with respect to many processed food products, such as maple syrup and berries. Some other sectors will need our assistance. The ones that come to mind are those affected by the arrival of new products in our grocery stores, including cheese products. We also need to help our businesses tap into the countless opportunities that must be seized to create wealth and jobs right here in Québec.”
Laurent Lessard, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
“CETA is the most important trade agreement negotiated by Canada since 1994. The Québec government was one of its main promoters and, for the first time in its history, fully participated in negotiating an international trade agreement that will have significant benefits for all Quebecers and all other Canadians.”
Jean-Marc Fournier, Minister responsible for Canadian Relations and the Canadian Francophonie and Government House Leader
• As a reminder, CETA:
- eliminates Canadian and European customs tariffs on almost all industrial goods: for example, 98% of customs duties applicable to Canadian products exported to Europe have been eliminated, including 99% with respect to industrial products;
- eliminates customs tariffs on nearly 94% of agricultural tariff lines upon entry into force;
- offers better access to public procurement in the EU, which is the world’s largest procurement market, estimated at 3,300 billion Canadian dollars annually;
- allows Québec suppliers to bid on public contracts of EU local and regional governments, (which is a first) and enables them to participate in calls for tender in the public services sector;
- streamlines the certification process for a multitude of products by authorizing Québec laboratories to recognize the compliance of products with European standards;
- facilitates the movement of investors and professionals between Canada and the EU;
- institutes a cooperation mechanism aimed at reducing the regulatory differences between Canada and the EU;
- will ultimately accelerate the recognition of professional qualifications and increase the acceptance rate for applications in regulated professions and trades.
• Some provisions focusing on investment, financial services, intellectual property and transparency of administrative measures are not yet in force. CETA will be fully implemented once the parliaments of the member states have all ratified it in accordance with their respective national constitutional obligations.
• It should be noted that in 2016, Québec’s export of goods to the 28 countries forming the EU totalled $9.9 billion.
• To promote CETA and encourage Québec companies to prepare for it, the Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation (MESI), through its Export Québec unit, has organized and contributed to conducting several workshops and seminars across Québec since March. MESI has also posted a technical document online indicating the steps to be followed in the short term. Other activities are expected during the fall, in collaboration with regional organizations.
• Some ten trade missions are planned over the coming months. Meetings will also be arranged with Québec companies wishing to capture the European market or consolidate their activities there and host potential buyers.
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