European food firms hail EU-Canada trade deal

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

The EU-Canada trade deal – regarded by some as a post-Brexit model for the UK – took seven years to negotiate
The EU-Canada trade deal – regarded by some as a post-Brexit model for the UK – took seven years to negotiate
European food and drink manufacturers’ organisation FoodDrinkEurope has welcomed the signing of an EU trade deal with Canada, viewed by some as a model for the UK’s trade arrangements with the union after Brexit.

The much delayed trade deal – known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA – was signed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and EU officials after seven years of talks.

FoodDrinkEurope urged the European Parliament to support the deal. “CETA is one of the most ambitious and progressive agreements ever negotiated,​ said Mella Frewen, director general of FoodDrinkEurope.

“It will strengthen the trade and investment relations between two of the world’s most advanced economies and like-minded partners, for the benefit of growth and jobs. It is now essential that two years after the conclusion of the negotiations, the European Parliament gives its consent and pushes for a swift implementation of the agreement.”

Europe’s food and drink manufacturers will benefit from an improved access to Canada’s high-income market via three key routes, said Frewen.

Those were: tariffs, non-tariff barriers and Geographical Indications.

Exported to Canada duty-free

On tariffs, FoodandDrink Europe said with CETA in place, about 92% of European agri-food products will be exported to Canada duty-free. “This will benefit for instance EU exports such as pasta, biscuits, confectionery, fruit and vegetable preparations, drinks and milk protein concentrate,”​ said the organisation.

Canada has also granted the EU a new bilateral quota for an effective 18,500t of cheese, which will more than double the market access for EU cheese.

For European spirits and wines, tariff elimination will be complemented by the removal of non-tariff barriers. FoodandDrink Europe said the removal of unfair trading practices and improved transparency in the way Canadian provincial liquor boards function will level the playing field and improve the competitive position of EU products.

Improve the competitive position

CETA will also remove the obligation to blend bulk spirits imports with local content.

On food and drink country of origin, the new trade deal will provide legal protection for 145 European Geographical Indications (GIs) and allows for additional GIs to be added in future. 

Concluding the trade deal was “essential to Europe’s economy”​, said the manufacturers’ organisation.

The trade deal suffered last-minute delays last week when the Belgium region of Wallonia vetoed the deal. Wallonia’s objections were later overcome after a further round of talks with EU officials.

Meanwhile, FoodDrinkEurope represents Europe’s food and drink industry. Europe’s largest manufacturing sector, the sector has 286,000 companies – of which 99% are small and medium-sized enterprises – and employs 4.2M staff. 

EU-Canada trade in food and drink products – at a glance

  • Canada ranks seventh among EU food and drink export destinations
  • EU food and drink exports to Canada valued at €2.8bn in 2015
  • EU food and drink exports to Canada consist mainly of wine, spirits, chocolate and confectionery, processed fruits and vegetables, bakery and farinaceous products and dairy products
  • Canadian imports to EU valued at about €900M
  • Canadian imports are dominated by fish products, processed fruits and vegetables and prepared animal feeds  

Source: FoodandDrinkEurope

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