Composed of 27 member states with a total population of
more than 500 million individuals and a gross domestic product (GDP) of more
than $16 trillion in 2010, the European Union (EU) is the world’s largest
single market. As an integrated bloc, the EU is Canada's second-largest trading
partner in goods and services, as well as its second-largest source of, and
destination for, foreign direct investment. Furthermore, Canada and the EU have
long-standing cultural, linguistic and historical links.
In May 2009, Canada and the EU announced the
launch of negotiations toward a comprehensive economic and trade agreement
(CETA). The first formal round of negotiations took place in October of that
year; since then, formal negotiating rounds have taken place quarterly.
According to Canadian and EU officials, the two sides aim to conclude
negotiations in 2012.
In addition to trade liberalization, the
Canada-EU CETA negotiations include a number of other subjects with the
potential to increase economic integration between the two parties, such as
investment protection, government procurement and labour mobility.
On September 27, 2011, the House of Commons
Standing Committee on International Trade (hereinafter the Committee) decided
to conduct a study on the Canada-EU CETA negotiations. The Committee’s primary
objective was to ensure that an agreement, once signed and implemented, would
be in the best interests of Canadians.
Against this background, the Committee held
hearings in Ottawa in October and November in order to obtain input from
Canadian stakeholders with regard to the principal issues in these
negotiations. Half of the Committee members then travelled to Brussels and
Paris in December to meet with European parliamentarians, representatives of
national governments, and stakeholders that are involved or have an interest in
the negotiations. The objective was to gain a broader understanding of the
benefits and challenges associated with the negotiations, and to highlight
Canada’s priorities in the negotiations.
Committee members who travelled to Europe
benefited from briefings and logistical support provided by Canada's Mission to
the EU as well as by the Canadian embassies in Belgium and France.
This report summarizes the issues under
consideration in the Canada-EU CETA negotiations, describes the Committee’s
meetings in Brussels and Paris, and makes recommendations to the government.
The report covers two major themes: the negotiation process and the expected
outcome of a Canada-EU CETA. In terms of the expected outcome, the following
topics are examined: trade in goods, trade in services and labour mobility,
investment protection, government procurement and intellectual property rights.
The EU is Canada’s second-largest trading
partner, after the United States. In 2010, Canadian exports of goods and
services to the EU totalled $49.1 billion and Canadian imports from the EU
totalled $55.2 billion.
The EU is growing in importance as a trading
partner for Canada, particularly as an export destination. From 2005 to 2010, the
value of Canadian exports to the EU rose at an average rate of 6.7% per year, a
rate higher than the average annual decline of 1.8% in Canadian exports
In 2010, Canada's top exports to the EU
included gold, aircraft, diamonds, uranium and iron ore, while the main imports
into Canada from the EU were pharmaceutical products, crude and light oil,
motor vehicles and wine.
Ontario and Quebec were the two largest
provincial exporters to the EU in 2010, with total exports valued at $17.2
billion and $7.9 billion respectively.
With regard to trade in the services sector, Canada-EU
services trade in 2010 totalled $28.0 billion, comprised of $12.9 billion in Canadian
services exports to, and $15.1 billion in services imports from, the region. Canada
was a net importer of travel services as well as of transportation and
government services from the EU in 2010. However, in the same year, Canada had
a trade surplus with the EU in the commercial services sector.
As is the case with trade in goods and
services, the EU is Canada’s second-largest source of, and destination for,
foreign direct investment, after the United States. The stock of Canadian
direct investment in the EU totalled $145.7 billion in 2010, accounting for
23.6% of all Canadian direct investment abroad. Similarly, the stock of direct
investment in Canada from the EU was valued at $148.7 billion in 2010, which
represented 26.5% of all foreign direct investment in Canada.
In terms of trade in goods and services as
well as investment, the United Kingdom remained Canada's most important partner
within the EU in 2010. Two-way trade in goods and services between Canada and
the United Kingdom totalled $35.3 billion, while two-way direct investment
totalled $112.3 billion, in that year.
At the 2007 Canada-EU Summit in Berlin, the
two parties agreed to conduct a joint study examining the costs and benefits of
pursuing a closer economic partnership, with special attention to the potential
impact of eliminating the existing barriers, particularly non-tariff barriers,
to the flow of goods, services and capital between Canada and the EU.
The results of the joint study were released
on October 16, 2008 in a report entitled Joint Study on Assessing the Costs
and Benefits of a Closer EU-Canada Economic Partnership. Because the joint
study demonstrated that a Canada–EU trade liberalization agreement would
benefit both sides, Canada and the EU began identifying the specific subjects
to be covered in formal negotiations. The results of that scoping exercise were
released in March 2009 in the Canada-European Union Joint Report: Towards a
Comprehensive Economic Agreement. The joint report outlined a broad CETA
negotiating agenda that included trade liberalization and other measures
promoting increased economic integration between the two parties.
On May 6, 2009, at the Canada-EU Summit in
Prague, Czech Republic, Canada and the EU announced the launch of formal
negotiations toward a CETA. Since then, nine negotiating rounds have taken
Although the scope of trade agreements
negotiated by Canada has not in the past included sub-national governments, a
Canada-EU CETA would likely change this approach if the two parties reach an
agreement. In fact, the EU has insisted from the outset that the Canadian provinces and territories be covered
by the agreement.
A trade liberalization agreement between two
or more states can be a complex process that may take a number of years to
complete, especially if the agreement covers a wide range of issues, as is the
case with the discussions aimed at reaching a CETA between Canada and the EU.
In this context, many with whom the Committee met in Ottawa and Europe agree
that, under the circumstances, the ongoing negotiations are progressing at a
fast pace. Although the deadline for reaching an agreement was initially set
for late 2011, it has been changed to 2012. With regard to the deadline, Steve
Verheul (Chief Trade Negotiator, Canada-European Union, Department of Foreign
Affairs and International Trade) said:
On the deadline of
finishing negotiations by 2012, we do feel this is quite realistic. We had a
discussion in Brussels last week with my counterpart, and he is of the same
view. The Europeans want to move very quickly on this negotiation to finish it,
as do we. So after the October round, we will be entering into an even more
intensive phase of the negotiations, aimed at reaching agreement on most of the
major issues by the first couple of months of next year.
Throughout its meetings in Europe, the
Committee heard that the current sovereign debt crisis in Europe is unlikely to
have an adverse effect on the negotiations under way to reach a CETA with
Canada. In fact, a number of participants told Committee members that trade is
a key element in the strategy for recovering from the crisis and that a trade
liberalization agreement with Canada would be a major achievement in
implementing such a strategy. The Committee also learned that Denmark, which
has held the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union
since January 1, 2012, has made the signing of bilateral trade agreements with
key partners, including Canada, a priority for stimulating growth and
employment in the EU.
The issue of stakeholder consultations regarding
the ongoing Canada-EU CETA negotiations was raised on a number of occasions at
meetings in Ottawa and in Europe. While there is no consensus, the majority of
witnesses heard by the Committee agree that the Canadian government's
consultation mechanism is inclusive. They feel that they are regularly
consulted and that their views are given sufficient consideration. On the issue
of consultations, Jacques Pomerleau (President, Canada Pork International)
stated: “We really appreciate having been consulted since the very beginning of
the negotiations and being kept appraised of all the latest developments
pertaining to our products.”
The participation of Canadian provinces and
territories in the negotiations to reach a CETA with the EU was discussed on a
number of occasions. Although Canada's Constitution gives the federal
government sole jurisdiction over the regulation of trade and commerce, the
negotiation of trade agreements that are more comprehensive than those signed
in the past makes it more likely that commitments will be made in areas of
shared federal–provincial or territorial jurisdiction or in areas of provincial
or territorial jurisdiction.
Greater participation by the provinces and
territories makes the negotiation process more complex because of the level of
coordination involved in developing the Canadian position. That said, cooperation
should make it possible to avoid a situation in which a province or territory
is opposed to the text of an agreement and would jeopardize the implementation
of some of the clauses in the agreement.
Because European negotiators want a CETA with
Canada to include government procurement at the provincial, territorial and
municipal levels and have made it a priority, consultation with the various
levels of government in Canada is of even greater importance. Don Downe (Chair,
Standing Committee on Finance and Intergovernmental Relations, Federation of
Canadian Municipalities) is of the view that the Canadian government
understands the position of Canadian municipalities regarding the CETA
negotiations with the EU. According to Mr. Downe, municipalities support free
and fair trade between Canada and its trading partners, but any trade agreement
with the EU must respect and protect municipal autonomy and decision-making.
On that point, the Minister of International
Trade told the Committee that he attended a meeting with the National Board of
Directors of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in Nelson, British
Columbia to discuss the Canada-EU CETA negotiations and assured them that he
was very sensitive to their particular concerns.
In his testimony, Stuart Trew (Trade
Campaigner, Council of Canadians) told the Committee that some Canadian
municipalities have nonetheless adopted a more critical stance toward Canada-EU
During its meetings in Europe, the Committee
noted that the EU faces a similar situation, as the European Commission has a
mandate to represent the interests of 27 different countries. The
representatives of national governments with whom Committee members met said that
they have been adequately informed by the European Commission during the
ongoing negotiations and explained how the Trade Policy Committee operates: the
representatives of the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission
provide weekly updates for the 27 member states on matters relating to trade.
That said, the EU member states are not
involved directly in the negotiations because they have authorized the European
Commission to negotiate on their behalf. The Committee noted that the Canadian
provinces and territories play a more proactive role than do the EU member
states in the ongoing negotiations toward a CETA between Canada and the EU.
The issue of the ratification and
implementation of any CETA, both in Canada and in the EU, was raised several
times during the Committee's meetings in Europe. In terms of the process in the
EU, the Committee learned that the ratification of a CETA with Canada will
depend on the agreement's scope. If the agreement deals solely with matters
over which the EU has exclusive jurisdiction, ratification will follow the
normal legislative procedure, under which a bill must be passed jointly by the European
Parliament and the Council of the EU, which is comprised of ministers from the
27 member states.
In the event of a “mixed agreement” (one with
some provisions falling under EU jurisdiction and some under member state
jurisdiction), in addition to the normal legislative procedure at the European
level described above, ratification of the agreement by each of the 27 EU
member states will be required. The EU member states would thus have a greater
influence on the outcome of the negotiations in the second scenario.
Some of the European participants raised the
possibility that the issues between Canada and the EU that are not covered by
the negotiations could nonetheless have an impact on the ratification of an
agreement in the European Parliament or by the parliaments of European member
states. The seal hunt, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and Canada's
imposition of visas on nationals from certain European member states were cited
as examples. That said, members of the European Parliament (MEPs), including
some members of the European Parliament Committee on International Trade, said
that such issues are unlikely to affect the ratification of a Canada-EU CETA by
the European Parliament.
The Committee also noted that the
negotiations toward a CETA between Canada and the EU have the support of the
main political groups represented in the European Parliament, including the
Group of the European People’s Party and the Group of the Progressive Alliance
of Socialists and Democrats, which together account for more than 60% of the
members of the European Parliament.
Given Canada's level of social and economic
development, the European MEPs with whom the Committee met believe that a CETA
between Canada and the EU would obtain the consent of the European Parliament
in due course. The EU-South Korean free trade agreement was cited as an example
in this regard. That agreement was the first opportunity for the European
Parliament to test its new legislative powers relating to trade policy since
the Lisbon Treaty came into effect. Despite the initial differences of opinion
on its content, that agreement was ultimately adopted by the European
Parliament on February 2, 2011, with 465 votes in favour, 128 votes
against and 19 abstentions.
On the subject of implementation of a
Canada-EU CETA in Canada, the issue of the application of an agreement's
clauses at the provincial and territorial level was raised on several occasions
by European participants. On this point, the Committee noted that, under the
Canadian Constitution, the federal government is fully responsible for the
implementation and application of international treaties, but that when Canada
incurs obligations in an agreement that fall under provincial or territorial
jurisdiction, it is incumbent upon the provinces and territories to fulfill
The Committee pointed out to European
representatives that, in the past, meeting the obligations that fall under
provincial or territorial jurisdiction has not been a problem for Canada.
Furthermore, an extensive consultation process has been established to ensure
that provincial and territorial legislation is given due consideration in the
development of Canada's negotiating positions.
The majority of Canadian witnesses were in
favour of negotiations toward a CETA between Canada and the EU, and held the
opinion that the impact of an agreement would be positive. On the basis of the
joint study on the costs and benefits of a CETA between Canada and the EU that
was released prior to the commencement of negotiations, the Minister of
International Trade noted that the agreement would have the potential to add
$12 billion per year to Canada’s economy and to boost bilateral trade by $38
billion, an increase of 20%. The Minister also stated: “[...] a free trade agreement
with the EU would mean an increase of almost $1,000 in the average Canadian
family's income, not to mention the 80,000 new Canadian jobs that are expected
to be created.”
Furthermore, representatives of the Department
of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) felt that the joint study
likely underestimates the expected benefits for Canada because one of its
assumptions is that the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round negotiations
will have been successfully concluded before a CETA between Canada and the EU
came into effect. With those negotiations at an impasse, the benefits that
Canada would derive from a CETA with the EU could be even greater, as Canada
would have a greater advantage in the European marketplace in comparison with
other trading partners that have not signed a preferential trade agreement with
The Committee was told that, of all the trade
negotiations entered into by Canada, including the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA), the Canada-EU CETA negotiations are likely to have a
greater impact on Canada. According to Milos Barutciski (Partner and Co-Chair,
International Trade and Investment Practice, Bennett Jones, Canadian Chamber of
Commerce), who was involved in the NAFTA negotiations when he was employed as a
federal public servant, a Canada-EU CETA would surpass NAFTA in its ambition
and would have an even greater positive impact for Canada. Mr. Barutciski
acknowledged, however, that certain sectors would face a more difficult
transition than others following the entry into force of a CETA between Canada
and the EU.
According to some of the Committee’s
witnesses, a CETA with the EU would provide an opportunity for Canada to
diversify its trade relationships. According to Roy MacLaren (Canadian
Chairman, Canada Europe Roundtable for Business), the Canadian economy relies
so heavily on exports that it is not advisable to be dependent on a single
market, as Canada currently is on the United States market. That said, the Committee
also takes note of the fact that DFAIT has affirmed the importance of the
United States as Canada’s most important trading partner.
In the same vein, Jean-Michel Laurin
(Vice-President, Global Business Policy, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters)
The conclusion of the
CETA has the potential to help Canadian manufacturers and exporters diversify
their sales into new export markets, to increase their presence in Europe at a
time when they are looking for new business opportunities, and to position
Canada as a more attractive destination for manufacturing investment by giving
Canadian companies privileged, duty-free access to the two largest markets in
the world, that is, the European Union and the United States.
The Committee was also told that, in light of
the international economic situation, specifically the sovereign debt crisis in
a number of European countries and the economic slowdown in the United States,
there could well be a protectionist response in these regions. In that regard,
Sam Boutziouvis (Vice-President, Policy, International and Fiscal Issues,
Canadian Council of Chief Executives) said that successful negotiations between
Canada and the EU toward a CETA could send a strong growth signal to investors
and businesses in Canada and abroad.
While most of the Committee’s witnesses in
Canada were optimistic about the benefits of a CETA with the EU, some of them
felt that an agreement between Canada and the EU should not be concluded at the
expense of the government's power to regulate. In this regard, the Minister of
International Trade said:
[...] we're committed
to preserving government powers and abilities to regulate. Canadian products,
services, and commercial expertise are for sale. Our government's powers and
ability to regulate are not. Foreign companies doing business in Canada, as
always, must comply with all our laws and regulations.
Other witnesses, however, were more
pessimistic about the overall impact of a Canada-EU CETA. Scott Sinclair
(Senior Research Fellow, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) said that the
average tariffs imposed by Canada and the EU on imports were already very low
and that there were very few traditional trade barriers between Canada and the
EU. He felt that reducing or eliminating these tariffs and obstacles would not
result in much of a boost to the Canadian economy.
Stuart Trew was of the view that the CETA negotiations
between Canada and the EU could compromise Canadian democracy. He said:
Since the negotiations
began on this proposed Canada-EU comprehensive economic and trade agreement in
2009, we've come to understand CETA not as a simple trade deal but more broadly
as an agreement on economic governance. CETA will set new legal limits on
social and environmental policy in ways that compromise our democracy.
In Europe, although the participants that the
Committee met in Brussels and Paris shared their concerns about certain issues,
they felt in general that a Canada-EU CETA would be advantageous for the EU.
The following sections provide a more
in-depth discussion of the issues of particular interest for Canadians and
Europeans raised during the Committee’s meetings on a CETA between Canada and
Like all trade liberalization negotiations,
those for a Canada-EU CETA involve a number of measures aimed at increasing the
flow of goods between the two regions, including the elimination of customs
duties. However, for some witnesses, non-tariff trade barriers, such as
divergent standards and regulations, appear to pose an obstacle to trade in
goods between Canada and the EU that is just as significant as, if not greater
than customs duties.
Access to agricultural markets is generally
one of the most contentious issues in bilateral or multilateral trade
negotiations. In light of what Committee members heard on issues such as GMOs,
supply management and rules of origin, negotiations to reach a CETA between
Canada and the EU are no exception. The Committee noted that trade
liberalization in respect of some specific agricultural products is a sensitive
issue for both Canada and the EU.
Because customs duties on most
non-agricultural products from Canada and Europe are already relatively low,
questions about these products did not raise major concerns during the Committee’s
hearing meetings in Ottawa and Europe.
Because manufactured products make up the majority of
Canadian exports to, and imports from, the EU, the Committee noted that a CETA
must take into account both the offensive and defensive interests of Canada's.
Jean-Michel Laurin pointed out that:
We also expect the
agreement to be ambitious with respect to tariff elimination, and we expect
that tariffs in more sensitive areas will be phased out over timelines that
provide Canada-based manufacturers the time they need to build capacity to take
advantage of more open access to the European market, but also to adapt to
changes in the domestic market that would result from an agreement.
Although DFAIT representatives expected that
a CETA with the EU would promote job creation in a number of Canadian sectors,
they felt it is likely that more employment gains would be made in the
manufacturing sector because of the preferential access an agreement would
provide Canadian companies in the European market in comparison with other
supplier countries, including the United States.
Furthermore, a CETA between Canada and the EU
could be favourable to competitive Canadian businesses throughout the world in
growth sectors such as sustainable development technologies. According to Vicky
Sharpe (President and Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Development
Technology Canada), the EU represents a very large market for green
technologies and a CETA would help Canadian clean technology companies to
penetrate and to strengthen their presence in the European marketplace.
In terms of the agriculture and agri-food
sector, most of the representatives from this sector told the Committee that
they hope to have greater access to the EU marketplace as a result of a Canada-EU
CETA. In view of the size of its marketplace, consumers' purchasing power and
their similar tastes in food, the EU is seen as an important strategic market
for the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector.
Representatives from the hog and cattle sectors
told the Committee that access to the European market for beef and pork products
is extremely limited at the present time. John Masswohl (Director, Government
and International Relations, Canadian Cattlemen's Association) pointed out
that, even though the Canadian beef sector is not opposed to the European
regulations prohibiting growth promotants, a CETA should provide unlimited and
duty-free access to the EU market for Canadian beef products. Mr. Masswohl
also asked that the protocol for demonstrating that Canadian beef conforms with
the European requirements be the same as that used for American breeders who
export their beef to the EU market.
For his part, Jacques Pomerleau expressed the
hope that Canada would be able to negotiate a tariff exclusion with a
Canada-only tariff rate quota for Canadian pork, with simplified administrative
procedures for its allocation in the EU.
Increased production of beef and pork
products in Canada as a result of greater access to the European marketplace
would also be advantageous to Canadian grain growers, because pork and beef
producers are major users of feed grains. Representatives of grain growers also
argued in favour of simplifying certification procedures for Canadian grains in
the EU and for a reasonable policy on the threshold level for the adventitious
(accidental and non-intentional) presence of GMOs in a shipment of grain.
Derek Butler (Executive Director, Association
of Seafood Producers) voiced a similar opinion when he asked for a complete and
immediate elimination of tariffs on Canadian seafood in the EU market. At the
same time, he asked that Canada be vigilant in ensuring that the elimination of
tariffs did not result in a commensurate rise in other trade barriers.
Some witnesses were strongly opposed to Canada's
position on supply management. They felt that the system currently in place in
Canada is costly for the Canadian economy, and that the federal government's
negotiating position on supply management prevents Canadian negotiators from
obtaining concessions from the EU in other sectors. However, Wally Smith
(President, Dairy Farmers of Canada) told the Committee that the Canadian dairy
industry is sustainable, creates rural activity, sustains jobs, and makes a
contribution to the Canadian economy.
DFAIT representatives said that Canada and
the EU agreed that both parties could make proposals on any sector of interest.
That said, the Government of Canada has stated that it strongly supports supply
management and that it will defend the supply management system with the same
vigour as in all previous trade negotiations.
Finally, representatives from the Canadian
forestry sector stated that their sector would benefit if a Canada-EU CETA
eliminated the tariffs that still exist on certain Canadian products, such as
oriented strand board and plywood products, and if it made the EU government
procurement process for forest products more transparent.
Regardless of whether the products under
discussion are agricultural, the Committee notes that the negotiations on the
rules of origin are likely to be problematic. The EU has already expressed
concerns that the United States could use a CETA with Canada as an indirect way
of entering the European marketplace tariff-free. In light of the integration
of the North American market and the reality that Canada and the United States
produce a number of products (such as automobiles) together, a number of
witnesses told the Committee that this state of affairs must be taken into
consideration in negotiating a Canada-EU CETA in order to avoid a situation
where goods produced in Canada were not considered as Canadian in the EU
During its meetings in Europe, the Committee
noted that improved market access for trade in goods is not a priority for most
of the participants it met. Discussions with European participants focused
primarily on issues such as government procurement and intellectual property
rights. That said, representatives from one EU member state told the Committee
that improved access for automobiles to the Canadian market was one of their
primary objectives in the negotiations under way to reach a Canada-EU CETA.
Other EU participants mentioned dairy products, primarily cheeses, as being of
offensive interest for the EU and raised concerns about the manner in which
dairy products are marketed as well as the high customs tariffs on dairy
products in Canada.
The Committee also discussed European
agricultural subsidies and the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with
European and French parliamentarians, as well as with representatives from the
agriculture and agri-food sector. The Committee was informed that the amounts
paid under the CAP are now almost entirely decoupled from farmers' production
levels, and that European farmers need financial support from the state because
of the additional costs associated with European regulations. With regard to
European regulations, European participants told the Committee that they are
working to ensure that a Canada-EU CETA would take the conditions of European
farmers into consideration, and that Canadian exporters would have to be
subject to the same regulations as them.
On the matter of GMOs, representatives from
European national governments and from the French agriculture and agri-food
sector said that the issue of GMOs is primarily political and that European
public opinion is firmly opposed to the marketing of such products for human
consumption. The Committee was told that it is unlikely that this position will
change in the near future, even though some of the participants showed openness
toward the use of GMOs in Europe.
The issue of rules of origin was raised by
some of the European participants. They stated that the current negotiations
toward a CETA are between Canada and the EU and not between North America and
the EU. Consequently, they wanted to ensure that Canadian products that would benefit
from improved access to the EU market under a CETA would have sufficient
The Committee noted that Canadian services
associated with Canadian products that are exported abroad add value to supply
chains and represent a growing share of the economic activity of Canadian
companies. A number of witnesses pointed out the importance of facilitating
service delivery between Canada and the EU as part of the negotiations toward a
CETA, of facilitating the movement of business people and workers between
Canada and the EU, and of recognizing professional qualifications.
The Committee was told that Canada is well
positioned in terms of trade in services with the EU in light of its trade
surplus with the EU in professional services, which include primarily legal,
architectural and engineering services. Increased access to the European
marketplace could help strengthen Canada's existing position.
Other witnesses were concerned that European
companies were trying to obtain access to the Canadian marketplace to deliver
public services, such as waste management, public transit and drinking water.
Scott Sinclair said:
Unconditional access to
government procurement, particularly at the provincial and local government
levels, is the EU's top priority in these negotiations. The proposed
restrictions would severely curtail governments' ability to use their
purchasing power to enhance local benefits. The rules prohibit local
development conditions, which are defined as offsets, even when contracts are
competed for openly and do not discriminate against foreign suppliers.
Mr. Sinclair also mentioned that he thought
that municipalities, such as Toronto and some in the Province of Quebec, have
applied local development criteria for some major contracts, including for
public transit and green energy, that have been beneficial for their
On that point, Don Downe informed the
Committee that his understanding was that the right of municipalities to
control public utilities under their jursidiction was not under consideration in
the Canada-EU CETA negotiations. He stated:
The other issue is that
there are some concerns out there that we would lose our right to control our
own utilities. That's not part of the agreement as we understand it. We've
brought that issue forward to the minister and it was clarified that this is
not going to be part the negotiations. We are bringing our concerns forward,
and at the end of the negotiations we will know what the outcome will be, but
we have been able to voice our concerns very clearly to that level.
While listing the seven principles of the
Federation of Canadian Municipalities relatively to international trade, Mr. Downe also noted that
Canadian and European negotiators appear to have agreed to a threshold of $8.5
million for construction-related procurements as part of the CETA negotiations.
He felt that this threshold is reasonable, particularly considering that it is
consistent with thresholds under the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement and the Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the
United States of America on Government Procurement.
One major challenge facing CETA negotiators
regarding labour mobility is provincial and territorial jurisdiction over the
regulation of professional and trade occupations in Canada. In a number of
occupations, there are significant impediments to inter-provincial and
inter-territorial labour mobility, largely the result of differences between
the provinces and territories in licensing requirements and in recognizing
Finally, the Committee noted that, in terms
of services trade commitments, Canada has taken a “negative list” approach in
past trade agreements, including NAFTA, which means that all items are covered
except for specific exemptions. To date, the EU has never used this approach,
relying instead on a “positive list” method that involves agreeing to
commitments in a specified list of areas. The Committee has learned, however,
that the EU has agreed to take a negative list approach in the negotiations
toward a CETA between Canada and the EU.
Most of the European participants who spoke
about trade in services and labour mobility expressed the view that a CETA
should make it possible to reduce barriers in services trade between Canada and
the EU and to facilitate the movement of business people and professionals.
According to interlocutors from BUSINESSEUROPE,
which represents the interests of private companies in Europe, labour mobility
is a particularly challenging issue with Canada because of the lack of
harmonization of provincial and territorial rules. The example of European
workers who had to return to Europe in order to complete the paperwork required
to move from one Canadian province or territory to another was used to
illustrate this issue.
Government representatives from some EU member
states explained to the Committee how complicated it was for them to use the
negative list approach for making commitments relating to the services sectors.
In fact, they were required to examine each type of service in order to find
out whether they would agree that liberalization commitments could be made on
their behalf, an exercise that took a number of months to complete. However,
the European Commission's chief CETA negotiator observed that, in hindsight,
this analytical exercise carried out by the 27 member states will be profitable
for them and will ultimately lead to a more ambitious services liberalization
On the issue of the inclusion of public
services in a Canada-EU CETA, the representatives from two EU member states
were concerned about the definition of public services in a CETA and the
exclusions that would apply to public services. However, the European
Commission's chief CETA negotiator explained that there was no question of a
CETA forcing the different levels of government in Canada or in Europe to
privatize their public services. That said, he considered that, in the event
that privatization occurs, the rules should allow the suppliers of Canadian and
European services to receive equitable treatment in terms of their prospects
for winning contracts from these governments.
Finally, representatives from another EU
member state expressed their hope that cultural services would be dealt with
carefully during Canada-EU CETA negotiations and said that they understand
Canada's position and the wish to include a cultural exclusion clause similar
to the clause in the free trade agreements that Canada has signed with other
trading partners. That said, they felt it would be worthwhile for the two
parties to discuss the definition of a cultural service.
Quebec’s Delegate General in Brussels and the
French parliamentarians who Committee members met in Brussels and in Paris
pointed out the importance of cultural diversity and of protecting it in the CETA
negotiations between Canada and the EU. According to them, this protection
should apply to cultural products and to cultural services.
A number of Canadian witnesses raised the
issue of investment protection in the Canada-EU CETA negotiations. DFAIT
representatives informed the Committee that initial discussions with the
European negotiators on this issue took place in the autumn of 2011, and that
discussions are still only in their early stages. That said, DFAIT
representatives nevertheless described a number of investment protection issues
on which Canada and the EU were in agreement, despite differences of opinions
on other issues.
Business trade associations and industry
associations called attention to the importance of direct investment in the
economic relationship between Canada and the EU, and they were in favour of a CETA
agreement that would help protect and promote investments between the two
regions and that would address current barriers to investment.
Although there has been some evolution in
content over the years, nearly all of Canada’s free trade agreements, and all
of its foreign investment promotion and protection agreements, have wording and
a structure similar to NAFTA’s Chapter 11, and include provisions that make it
possible for investors and states to settle their disputes directly. In this
regard, the Committee noted that the current Canada-EU CETA negotiations mark
the first time the EU has obtained a mandate from the 27 member states to
negotiate a chapter on investment protection on their behalf that could include
investor-state arbitration provisions.
Some of the witnesses were concerned about
including provisions for an investor-state dispute-resolution mechanism in a
Canada-EU CETA. Scott Sinclair and Stuart Trew believed that such provisions
grant special rights to foreign investors that enable them to bypass domestic
court systems and to challenge social, environmental and economic regulations
that affect their profitability. These witnesses felt that Canada and the EU had
mature, highly regarded court systems and that there was no justification for
including investor-state arbitration provisions in a CETA.
According to Jason Langrish (Executive
Director, Canada-Europe Roundtable for Business), including investor-state provisions
in a Canada-EU CETA is important because even though Canada is enormously
reliant on foreign trade and investment, it does not have resources that are
comparable to those of other countries, such as the United States or China.
According to him, it is, therefore, unrealistic to expect Canadian businesses
to petition their government to act on their behalf every time they have a
problem that relates to a foreign investment.
Also according to Mr. Langrish, the NAFTA investor-state
arbitration provision has been of benefit to Canada and the number of cases
that have been brought forward under this provision is extremely small,
considering the volume of trade and the flows of investment among the
signatories to the agreement.
For other witnesses, the key to the Canada-EU
CETA negotiations will be to find a compromise between promoting investment
between Canada and the EU and preserving the government's authority to make
regulations. Daniel Schwanen (Associate Vice-President, Trade and International
Policy, C.D. Howe Institute) said:
trade and investment, within accepted rules of fair competition, so long as
governments do not relinquish the ability to regulate and set standards in the
public interest or to help the disadvantaged, is beneficial for sustainable
jobs, innovation, and economic growth.
In its meetings in Brussels and Paris, the
Committee noted that the investment relationship between Canada and the EU is
considered as important in Europe as it is in Canada.
The Committee was made aware of the
importance of addressing existing barriers to investment between the two
countries. In this regard, the European Commission's chief CETA negotiator
raised concerns about some of Canada's investment measures, primarily the Investment Canada Act, which affects the level of predictability that
foreign investors need in certain cases.
The European Commission's chief CETA
negotiator said the investment policies in the EU are predictable and
transparent. According to him, some member states are also concerned that the
EU appears to be generous in terms of its investment policies as compared to
the market access and the opportunities that are open to European companies
Representatives from an EU member state told
the Committee that they consider European investors to be well protected in
Canada in view of the effectiveness and quality of Canada's judicial system.
For this reason, they do not consider the CETA negotiations with Canada on
investment protection to be a priority.
The Committee was informed that opening up
government procurement markets in Canada, particularly at the provincial,
territorial and municipal levels, is one of the priorities for European negotiators.
It appears that they will have to gain concessions from Canadian provinces,
territories and municipalities for negotiations to succeed.
The Committee learned that the scope of trade
agreements negotiated by the Canadian federal government in the past had not
extended to provincial, territorial and municipal governments or to Crown
corporations. That situation changed with the 2010 Canada–United States
Agreement on Government Procurement, in which provinces, territories and
certain Canadian municipalities agreed, for the first time, to temporary
commitments allowing US corporations to bid on Canadian government contracts.
DFAIT representatives confirmed that, in the
CETA negotiations, Canada has agreed to open certain markets. That said, DFAIT
representatives do not expect that a Canada-EU CETA would significantly change
the current situation as it relates to the Canadian procurement system. Steve
With respect to
government procurement, bear in mind that we will be opening up some markets to
the European Union, but for the most part we're not anticipating any big
changes. Our procurement system in Canada is largely open to begin with.
Municipalities, provinces, and the federal government often have contracts with
foreign suppliers, so we're not anticipating a huge change.
It should be noted that the Canadian
negotiators have the support of the provinces and territories for the inclusion
of a chapter on government procurement in a Canada-EU CETA. In this regard,
Steve Verheul said:
When we put an offer on
the table with the EU on government procurement, it is fully endorsed by the
provinces and the territories, which were a great help in constructing those
offers. So the consultation process has been unlike any we've ever had before
on these issues.
While the issue of government procurement is
often described as a subject on which Canada negotiates defensively, a number
of witnesses told the Committee that many Canadian companies in a number of
different economic sectors also have offensive interests in the EU government
procurement market, which represents more than $2 trillion and to date has
remained largely untapped by Canadian companies. Jean-Michel Laurin and Don
Downe said that they hoped that greater access for Europeans to Canadian procurement
markets would open the door for Canadians to make similar gains in the EU.
Speaking for Canadian municipalities, Don
Downe also explained that the minimum thresholds above which government
contracts would be affected by a Canada-EU CETA must be reasonable. Thresholds
that are too low or too broad could force municipalities to tender projects
when tendering is neither practical nor financially justified.
Some witnesses expressed their fears about
the negative impact that liberalizing the rules for awarding government
contracts could have on the capacity of the various levels of government in
Canada to create employment, protect the environment and assist marginalized
groups. For instance, Theresa McClenaghan (Executive Director and Counsel,
Canadian Environmental Law Association) said that she hoped that a Canada-EU
CETA would not open the door to privatizing certain public services or to
private-sector involvement in services such as drinking water and wastewater.
Ms. McClenaghan said that her association had consistently supported public
ownership and governance of drinking water and wastewater systems because of
accountability, safety and affordability issues. That said, as noted earlier,
the Minister of International Trade told the Committee that the government's
powers and ability to regulate were not up for sale as part of the Canada-EU
Through the meetings in Europe, the Committee
was able to confirm that access to Canadian government procurement, specifically
the involvement and consent of Canada's provincial, territorial and municipal
governments, is one of the EU's primary interests in the CETA negotiations.
Representatives from an EU member state made
a point of assuring the Committee that the goal of the Canada-EU CETA
negotiations was to ensure fair competition and to avoid discrimination in the
adjudication of public procurement, not to promote the privatization of any
particular service. In their view, the issue of privatization is outside the scope
of the current negotiations between Canada and the EU.
The European Commission’s chief CETA
negotiator expressed the hope that the current negotiations will allow European
companies to have guaranteed access to government procurement by Canadian provinces,
territories and municipalities, especially since the EU member states are
prepared to do the same. In fact, although the EU has included contracts issued
by its sub-central government entities and Crown corporations in its
commitments under the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, Canada is
excluded from the list of beneficiary countries because of the lack of
The European Commission’s chief CETA
negotiator noted that, despite the challenges that remained, he was confident
that the two parties would find an accommodation on the issue of government
Representatives from the European Economic
and Social Committee echoed the optimistic views expressed by the European
Commission’s chief CETA negotiator when they stated that it was normal that the
issue of government procurement would raise questions about its impact on the
delivery of public services. Their experience showed that, ultimately, the
issue could not really be viewed as a problem because the matter of
privatization was not covered by the negotiations for an agreement such as a
The Committee noted that the issue of
intellectual property rights is an element of the Canada-EU CETA negotiations in
respect of which the EU is likely to have numerous demands. In addition to
strengthening copyright protection, and recognizing a system for European
geographical indications and the list of related products, it is expected that
the EU will ask Canada to amend its intellectual property legislation with
regard to patents awarded to pharmaceutical products.
Most of the evidence heard concerning
intellectual property rights dealt with the issue of pharmaceutical patents in
Canada. The Committee noted there were contradictory opinions on the potential
impact of changing Canada's current legislation so that it more closely
reflects the European model.
Representatives from Canadian pharmaceutical
research companies explained that they feel a Canada-EU CETA provides an
opportunity for Canada to strengthen its intellectual property regime for the
life sciences sector. More specifically, they asked that Canada make changes
that would improve the right of appeal for innovators, extend data protection by
two years and enable patent term restoration. According to Russell Williams
(President, Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies), intellectual
property rights help protect and encourage innovation across all industrial
sectors and, each time Canada has strengthened its intellectual property regime
in the past, it has been good for Canadian patients, Canada’s healthcare system
and the Canadian economy.
Mr. Williams also noted that intellectual
property rights are protected more effectively in European countries than in
Canada, and most of those countries spend less on healthcare as a percentage of
GDP than does Canada.
Debbie Benczkowski (Interim Chief Executive
Officer, Alzheimer Society of Canada) expressed her support for the position
taken by Canadian pharmaceutical research companies and stated that her
organization believed that reforming intellectual property standards for
medicines in Canada would maintain knowledge-based investments with the
potential to add $12 billion to the Canadian economy.
Representatives from the Canadian Generic
Pharmaceutical Association did not share this view. According to an academic
study commissioned by the association, the changes to the intellectual property
regime governing pharmaceutical patents proposed by the EU in the CETA
negotiations would delay generic competition for three and a half years on
average, which would increase the cost of the Canadian healthcare system by
$2.8 billion per year.
According to Barry Fishman (Chair, Canadian
Generic Pharmaceutical Association), studies show that extending patent life
does not increase R&D investment by brand-name pharmaceutical companies in
Canada. In his view, the primary motivation behind the proposals from the
pharmaceutical companies in relation to the Canadian intellectual property regime
in the context of the Canada-EU CETA negotiations is to increase their profits,
especially since many of them are based in Europe.
DFAIT representatives told the Committee that
they are aware of the positions held by the various Canadian stakeholders on the
issue of pharmaceutical patents. To date, however, Canada has made no
concessions in this regard and it is possible that Canada will not make
concessions on the issue before the end of the CETA negotiations.
Finally, representatives from the Canadian
Manufacturers & Exporters as well as from the Dairy Farmers of Canada told
the Committee that Canada must not give in to the EU's demands on the issue of
geographical indications. According to them, Canadian farmers must not be
impeded in their ability to name and promote certain common agri-food products,
such as feta and Parmesan cheese.
The issue of the Canadian patent regime for
pharmaceutical products monopolized the intellectual property rights
discussions during the Committee's meetings in Europe.
Representatives from BUSINESSEUROPE and some
EU member states pointed out that better protection for pharmaceutical patents
in Canada was a critical EU priority in the Canada-EU CETA negotiations. They
did not feel that greater patent protection would result in a noticeable
increase in costs for the Canadian healthcare system. More importantly, they
felt that Canada would benefit from increased protection because it is likely
to mean an increase in research and innovation in Canada.
The EU expressed its concerns with regard to
current copyright protection in Canada. The Committee noted, however, that a
Canadian government bill on copyright modernization, introduced in the House of
Commons in September 2011, is likely to respond to most of the EU's concerns.
The Committee also noted that the EU is
attempting to obtain formal recognition of the EU’s system of geographical
indications for certain food products, primarily cheeses.
European and French Parliamentarians
expressed their belief that Canadian and European negotiators would manage to
find an accommodation on the issues involving intellectual property rights.
Committee members heard varied positions
during their study of a Canada-EU CETA. While some witnesses raised concerns, the
majority supported a CETA and felt that its effects would be positive for
Canada. Similar comments were made in Europe, where almost all participants
supported the ongoing negotiations and believed that a CETA would lead to
greater economic integration between the two regions.
The Committee noted that the CETA negotiations
between Canada and the EU are progressing rapidly when compared with what is
normally the case at the international level for negotiations on trade
liberalization agreements between two or more states. In light of its meetings
with European participants, the Committee also concluded that the sovereign
debt crisis that Europe is experiencing at the moment is unlikely to have a
damaging effect on the negotiations under way.
The Committee welcomed the increased
participation of Canadian provinces and territories in the negotiation process
for an agreement that could be more comprehensive than any similar agreement
negotiated by Canada in the past. This coordination of efforts among Canada's
different levels of government should facilitate the implementation of a CETA,
especially since it could include commitments in areas of provincial or
Consequently, the Committee recommends that:
Recognizing that the European Union is a
historical and natural trading partner, the Government of Canada strengthen its
ties with the European Union and, in 2012, conclude a Comprehensive and
Economic Trade Agreement with the European Union that is of net benefit to
In order to assist Canadian businesses
and promote the opportunities within the European Union, the Government of
Canada draw on stakeholder testimonials and consultations to encourage Canadian
businesses to trade with the European Union.
In recognition that, under the Treaty of
Lisbon, the European Parliament has increased influence and power over foreign
policy and the adoption of trade agreements, the Government of Canada and the
Committee work on strengthening their relations with the various political
groups represented in the European Parliament in order to ensure passage of the
Comprehensive and Economic Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.
The Government of Canada develop a proactive
plan to pursue more value-added development of Canadian exports in order to
maintain market access for exports while capturing greater economic benefits at
home and reducing environmental impacts.