“Yesterday Estonian parliament (Riigikogu )ratified the free trade agreement between the EU and Canada”

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Today the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) ratified the economic and trade agreement between the European Union and Canada that will give the European companies the possibility to operate under the same competition conditions as Canadian firms.

66 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 1 was against.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson said that the free trade agreement with Canada was of great importance in strengthening the unity of Western world and also gave the Estonian entrepreneurs wider possibilities for entering the Canadian market.

“CETA will make it simpler for the Estonian entrepreneurs to enter the Canadian market to offer their goods and services, and vice versa,” Mihkelson said. The agreement will also enable access to the public procurements market.

Mihkelson expressed hope that the ratification of the agreement between the EU and Canada could be a positive motivation for moving on with the free trade agreement between the EU and the USA.

CETA will eliminate 99 per cent of customs duties between the EU and Canada. There will be total liberalisation regarding manufactured articles and fish products, as well as wine and alcohol. Tariffs on export articles important to the EU, such as confectionery, baked products, vegetables and fruits, will also be eliminated. However, the tariffs on certain agricultural products, like chicken meat and eggs, will remain the same.

In addition to the lowering of tariffs, for example, simplifications in the rules of origin, simplification of the mutual recognition of technical regulations, and streamlining of the processes of sanitary and phytosanitary rules should also contribute to the stimulation of trade.

In addition, new opportunities will open in the Canadian service market to European undertakings through CETA. Liberalisation will concern the energy, financial services, telecommunications and maritime transport services sectors.

This agreement also reflects the EU’s new more transparent and institutionalised approach to the protection of investments as well as to disputes relating to them, but the section of the agreement concerning the protection of investments will not be applied as yet.

Canada has finished all ratification processes relating to CETA. Of the member states of the EU, Latvia, Denmark, Spain, Malta, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Portugal, and also the European Parliament have ratified the agreement. CETA was implemented as of 21 September.

Krishan Chand

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