Work on approving the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”) between Canada and the European Union is drawing to a close. As distinct from a similar agreement with the United States (“TTIP”) which is still being negotiated, the CETA was signed on 30 October of this year and is now awaiting ratification. Even though the approval of the CETA carries a risk of tougher competition on the market for Poland, it also provides hope for an increase in trade exchange with Canada and an opportunity for new investments for Polish entrepreneurs.
One of the agreement’s most important assumptions is the liquidation of most customs duties on imports between the parties, which will – according to estimates given by the European Commission – enable entrepreneurs from the EU to save the equivalent of about 500 million euros a year. The process of lifting the duties, which will begin right after the agreement comes into force, has been spread over a period of seven years. After the completion of the trade liberalisation process, all customs duties in industrial products trading will have been eliminated. The same goes for the clear majority of customs duties in the agricultural and food products area, as well as wines and spirits. In the case of indicated products, such as beef, pork, sweet corn from the EU and dairy produce from Canada, the limits specified in the agreement (quotas) will be maintained. Restrictions concerning the poultry and eggs market will be left unchanged. The lifting of trade barriers entails, on the one hand, the possibility of increasing exports of Polish products to Canada – Poland’s balance of trade in commercial relations with Canada is currently positive, so approving the CETA provides hope that this advantage will increase even more. On the other hand, frequent criticism is voiced that lifting the already low customs duties will negatively impact the quality of the food imported into the European market.
Implementing the agreement will not only make possible the free flow of goods between two large trading blocs, but will also introduce greater facility in the flow of employees. The CETA will facilitate mutual recognition of qualifications in regulated professions such as architects, accountants and engineers, and will enable employees to be temporarily delegated more easily in order to provide services.
More extensive access to public procurements for entrepreneurs from the European Union is one of the most important changes introduced by the CETA. Participation by entities from the EU in tenders to supply goods and services will not only be possible at a federal level, but also at the level of Canadian provinces and municipalities.
The CETA provisions will also guarantee the protection of so-called geographical indications of products. In connection with this, names referring to places where given goods are produced (e.g. Prosciutto di Parma) will not be able to be used by other entrepreneurs. Unfortunately the list of such goods does not cover any products from Poland. The Commission has made it known that the list of products will be extended in due course.