CETA Agreement in Principle Reached

On October 18th, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada has reached an Agreement in Principle with the European Union on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (or CETA).

Touted by the federal government as the biggest, most ambitious trade agreement that Canada has ever reached, CETA will extend our nation's free trade relations from 14 to 42 countries. The trade deal will see the removal of 98% of all EU tariffs and covers everything from cars to food to intellectual property. While an Agreement in Principle has been reached, it is expected that full ratification will be another two years away, once final drafting is completed; a legal review is undertaken; and final translation of the Agreement into 22 languages is completed and examined by EU countries.

FCM President Claude Dauphin issued a statement indicating that while some important details remain to be confirmed, he expressed optimism that the deal would in fact respect all seven of the CETA principles that had been put forward by FCM on behalf of local governments across Canada.

The membership of UBCM has not been supportive of the trade deal. For many years, UBCM, by resolution, has requested an exemption for local governments from CETA and sought specific service exemptions (2010-B108; 2011-B112; 2012-B87). While a local government exemption is not forthcoming in CETA, FCM and UBCM have continued to identify specific concerns to their government counterparts throughout the negotiation process. Members will recall that the federal trade minister, Honourable Ed Fast, issued a Q&A document on local government procurement obligations in February 2012 in response to concerns expressed by both FCM and UBCM about CETA implications for local governments.

UBCM will continue to work with FCM and provincial trade officials in the coming months to provide members with further information about the specific impacts and implications for local governments as details unfold. If members have specific CETA questions or comments, we encourage you to email the Provincial Ministry of International Trade at CETA@gov.bc.ca or call Janel Quiring, Director, International Trade at 250.356.5867.

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