OTTAWA – The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, also known as CETA, appears to be close to foundering on the objections of a small region of Belgium. Here are some facts about the deal:
— Canada is the EU’s 12th most important trading partner. The EU is Canada’s second-largest trading partner after the U.S. and accounts for nearly 10 per cent of its external trade.
— In 2014, Canadian exports to the EU totalled $39.5 billion, with imports at $53 billion.
— The EU has a population of more than 500 million and a nominal GDP of almost $18 trillion.
— The agreement would eliminate about 98 per cent of the tariffs on both sides of the deal.
— A joint Canada-EU study concluded that the trade agreement could increase bilateral trade by 20 per cent annually and boost Canada’s income by $12 billion annually.
— The study suggested the economic benefit of the agreement would be equivalent to creating almost 80,000 new jobs or increasing the average Canadian household’s annual income by $1,000.
— The first round of negotiations was held in Ottawa in October 2009 and an agreement in principle was announced four years later. After fine-tuning some contentious clauses, a final legal text was released in February 2016.
— Adoption of the deal in Europe has been blocked by Wallonia, a Belgian region of 3.6 million people. The regional parliament rejected the agreement over fears it would threat Walloon farmers and the area’s welfare standards.