Canadian Senate Approves CETA Implementation Bill

18 May 2017

The Canadian Senate approved legislation last week for implementing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.

The move is one of the final stages before the two trading partners can begin the provisional application of the accord. On the EU side, the European Parliament also approved CETA in February this year, though full ratification will still require approval from national and regional legislatures. (See Bridges Weekly, 16 February 2017)

CETA overview

Covering a wide range of issues from eliminating duties to protecting geographical indications, along with provisions relating to sustainable development, proponents say that CETA is by far the most comprehensive and advanced trade deal ever reached by either party.

Upon entry into force, CETA will immediately eliminate 98 percent of tariffs between the two trading partners, increasing later to 99 percent. Other notable features include opening up Canadian public procurement markets to EU bidders at all levels of government – a first for Ottawa – and the inclusion of a new investment court system.

In a video published earlier this year, Canadian Minister of International Trade François-Philippe Champagne described the planned accord as a “progressive trade agreement for the middle class” that would lead to economic growth, lower consumer prices, and the creation of new jobs while also protecting the environment and labour rights.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has also said that the deal is an “exemplar” of protecting and promoting standards, including on sustainable development, describing these benefits during a speech in the Canadian capital city of Ottawa earlier this year. 

Coming up

The bill already made its way through the Canadian House of Commons months ago. It later went through three “readings” in the Senate, ultimately being adopted without amendment. The legislation was given royal assent this week, after which it will become an official Act of Parliament. Canada will then need to begin updating its regulatory system in advance of CETA’s entry into force. 

Under the terms of CETA, the EU and Canada can begin provisional application from the start of the following month after both sides have completed the necessary internal steps. Full application is expected to take far longer, as the relevant EU national and regional legislatures work on their own approval processes. To date, Latvia has already done so. (See Bridges Weekly, 6 April 2017 and 2 March 2017)

ICTSD reporting; “Update on Bill C-30 and CETA Implementation in Canada,” LEXOLOGY, 12 May 2017.

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