CETA Conference

Selfie at the Pan Pacific HotelOn Monday, June 20th, 2016, I attended the “Business Forum and Conference on the Canada – European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)“. It took place at the Pan Pacific Hotel in downtown Vancouver, BC between 9 am and 5 pm. Sponsors of this event were “EU Chamber of Commerce (Canada-West), The Netherlands (EU Presidency), Canada Starts Here, Province of British Columbia, Global Affairs Canada, Brussels Invest & Export, Consulate General of Greece, Consular General of Italy (Vancouver), Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Vancouver, LABTEST, European Union and Canada.

Since I am seeking full-time employment and have over 10 years experience working with the German Community in most aspects as is available here in Vancouver (Secretary of German Canadian Business Association, Teacher at the Westside German School, on the Board of the DKV Society and the German Canadian Congress, working as “Swiss Herald” editor for 3 years, representing Germany at the European Festival and the “Christmas from Around the World Trade Show”, started a German Nanny Agency called European InHome Services, had a newsletter, blog and magazine called “Westcoast German News”, promote German events, such as soccer, Säengerfest, concerts and meetings, and am a member of the German Language Meetup Group just to name a few) I am hoping to get a job working with German or Swiss companies that wish to move to western Canada.

I have started a website called “European Business Hub” at www.eurobusinesshub.com

Otherwise, here are some notes I took just for the first couple of hours.

According to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service

European Union Overview

Comprised of 28 Member States with a total population of over 507 million and a GDP of over $20 trillion in 2014, the EU is the world’s largest single common market, foreign investor and trader. The EU is also incredibly diverse, holding within its borders both large and small national economies as well as advanced and emerging markets. The EU offers Canadian companies a means to diversify their international activities and can act as a stepping stone to markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Nineteen EU member states have adopted the Euro the EU’s common currency and more countries may join in the coming years. As one of the world’s major currencies, the euro provides stability for Canadian investors, reduces transaction costs and allows for more transparent pricing.

Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade

Hon. Teresa Wat was the president and CEO of Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation CHMB AM1320 and has also served as the news director at Channel M Television (now OMNI TV)


The Master of Ceremonies was Shachi Kuri, the Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute. According to her, when they did a CETA Poll, they learned that:
a. 1/5 have never heard of the CETA pact
b. 2/3’s of those who have heard of it support a Canada-EU Trade Agreement
c. Small business and the food/services industry mostly benefit
d. Movement of goods – meant to ratify on Thursday.

Topic #1 – Welcome & General Remarks on CETA included:
a. The Competitive Advantage that Canada has, once CETA is ratified
b. Get ready now – don’t wait until 2017
c. There are CETA Experts available to answer your questions – the ones who were part of creating the agreement

Celso Boscariol, President of the Union Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West, spoke about:
a. the EU Chamber-West was created in 2013
b. Offshoot of the Italian Chamber
c. Have a contract with the European Union
d. Alex Martini is the Executive Director
e. CETA is still subject to ratification

Basic goals of CETA
-job creation
-economic prosperity
-new market penetration
-550 million consumers in the EU

Paul van Rhijn, Deputy Consul General, Consulate General of the Netherlands
a. EU Presidency, now held by the Dutch, is rotated every 6-months
b. Events that are being discussed are: Canadian Public Outreach, Protecting EU Products, democracy, consumers and the environment
c. The text will have to be approved by the EU Parliament

Topic #2 – Preparing your Business to Take Advantage of CETA

Christian Hansen, Regional Director and Senior Trade Commissioner, Pacific Regional Office, Global Affairs Canada
a. Canadian will have secure, preferential markets
b. Access to capital
c. Basically creating more customers – opening the market to Europe
d. More jobs and more opportunities
e. Will reduce tariffs by 80%
f. Will include Municipality Level opportunities – MASH = Municalities, airports, schools and hospitals

-both EU & Canada have a SME-driven economy
-they both have a lot in common in terms of democracy and freedom and rights

Messages were:
a. EU is complicated with 24 official languages and 28 States
b. CETA means a lot
c. EU is an important market
d. It helps to understand the EU/Market
e. The EU economy is very large – offers goods/services, investment opportunities and government procurement

Export Market Development:
a. Introductions
b. Export Planning
c. Market Scan
d. Troubleshooting/Challenges

Trade Commissioner
a. Regulatory Consulting
b. Language & Culture interpreting
c. Sales Channel

Helps you expand your network:
a. More customers
b. Partners
c. Events
d. Services
e. Associations

a. May pay up to 50% of new market expenses
b. Professional Firms
c. Helps you do business in Europe (604 666-888)

On January 5, 2016, Minister Chrystia Freeland announced a new program to increase the competitiveness of Canadian companies. CanExport will provide up to $50 million over five years in direct financial support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada seeking to develop new export opportunities, particularly in high-growth priority markets and sectors (From their website: http://international.gc.ca/canexport/index.aspx?lang=eng)

Top Commodities of Poland are:
a. Aviation
b. Mining
c. Shipbuilding
d. IT
e. Business process outsourcing
f. New technologies
g. IT Security
h. Cyber Attacks

a. Fair
b. Transparent
c. Sustainable
d. Equal

CETA will help with:
a. Mutual recognition of professional qualifications
b. Double-testing of machinery
c. Collaboration between Countries

Scouting Stage is:
a. Get to know a company
b. Find partners
c. Find consultants
d. Study every country to decide whether or not to invest
e. Work with the local First Nation

Karsten Mecklenburg, Head, Economic, Trade and Commercial Section, EU Delegation to Canada spoke on “Public Procurement – Doing Business with the EU”, along with Pierre Marier, Directore, Procurement, Trade and Environment, Global Affairs Canada, Jeffrey Thomas, a partner for Borden, Ladner & Gervais LLP, Paolo Quattrocchi, Partner and Co-Founder, NCTM LAW and finally, Paul Oostelbos, Director, International Business Development, Orgaworld.

Government Procedure Goals are
a. Non-discrimination of suppliers, good and services
b. Transparency Commitments
c. Impartiality and fair between Canada/Europe
d. Accountability

Want to transform the process:
a. CETA is the most ambitious Trade Agreement yet
b. It breaks new ground
c. First to address not only Federal, then Provincial and now Municipal (MASH – Municipalities, airports, schools and hospitals)
d. There are almost 1600 pages that have to be translated into 21 official languages and 14 annexes were added: 7 for Canada and 7 for the EU
e. Defines “thresholds” for various goods/services and if below this, may be not be captured by this trade agreement.

CETA Agreement has to be:
a. Legally scrubbed
b. Officially translated into 21 languages
c. Approved by the Council of Ministers
d. Council of European Parliament

Who is Aware of CETA?
a. 1/5 Canadians are not aware yet
b. 5/5 Europeans THINK they know what CETA is and are not happy due to refugees, anti-Americanism and the sluggish economy

What does the Public Think?
a. Nobody has $ to spend
b. Public/private investment fell by 15%
c. There is increasing public debt

EU Commission made “Boost in investment” a PRIORITY.

They created an online portal that went live two weeks ago.
On their site you can find and secure funding for projects under the following EU programmes:

a. 2014-2020 Horizon 2020 – research and innovation framework programme
b. 2007-2013 7th research framework programme (FP7) and Competitiveness & Innovation Programme (CIP)
c. 3rd Health Programme, Consumer Programme, COSME, Justice Programme, Promotion of Agricultural Products Programme, Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme and Research Fund for Coal & Steel

labour mobility

Steven Hunt, President of COWI, North America

My next blog post will go on to Government Procurement Processes in Canada and the EU.

10 Jan 2016
January 10, 2016

Ratifying the CETA Agreement

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The Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement (CETA)

Official CETA BannerCETA is a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. As someone reporting on local news on German/European topics, I am trying to do my best to gather information on this topic to share with my readers. I have been hearing about CETA since 2008 (almost 8 years!) and it is frustrating to me, that after the election where PM Steven Harper was ousted and the new PM Justin Trudeau was elected, nothing public was said about the topic.

The new Liberal Government seems to have a whole new set of priorities, such as legalizing marijuana and taking selfies around the world, all the while lowering taxes and asking our 6 Canadian fire jets to stop participating in the “Coalition”. But what I want to know, is “Show me the money (trail).”

It is challenging to find any current facts, stories, government websites or information, but here is what I do know, so far.

1. Negotiations for CETA started in 2008/2009 and finished in August 2014

Comment: Wow, that was a long time ago, right?

2. If approved, the agreement would begin to come into effect in 2016 at the earliest, at which time about 98% of the tariffs between Canada and the EU would be eliminated.

4. A big deal seems to be the wording of the “Text of the origin declaration”

English Version:
The exporter of the products covered by this document (customs authorization No …2) declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of …3 preferential origin.

German Version:
Der Ausführer (Ermächtigter Ausführer; Bewilligungs-Nr. …(1)) der Waren, auf die sich dieses Handelspapier bezieht, erklärt, dass diese Waren, soweit nicht anderes angegeben, präferenzbegünstigte …(2) Ursprungswaren sind.

5. The EU is a more than $17 trillion market with high-income customers.

6. The consolidated text of the CETA agreement is 1,634 pages long, and it has to be translated into all of the EU and Canadian Country languages.

7. Abbreviations that are used for the countries involved are:

AT Austria
BE Belgium
BG Bulgaria
CY Cyprus
CZ Czech Republic
DE Germany
DK Denmark
EE Estonia
ES Spain
EU European Union, including all its Member States
FI Finland
FR France
EL Greece
HR Croatia
HU Hungary
IE Ireland
IT Italy
LV Latvia
LT Lithuania
LU Luxembourg
MT Malta
NL The Netherlands
PL Poland
PT Portugal
RO Romania
SK Slovak Republic
SI Slovenia
SE Sweden
UK United Kingdom
CAN Canada

8. The government website here has many things to say, although it seems they were last updated in 2014. But here are the highlights:


a. Canadian exporters will have clear and favourable rules that take into consideration Canada’s supply chains to determine which goods are considered “made in Canada” and eligible for preferential tariff treatment.
b. The processes through which Canadian exporters get their products to EU buyers will be easier, faster and less costly.
c. CETA will help to ensure that unnecessary or discriminatory regulatory requirements do not diminish the value of new market access for Canadians.
d. Cooperation and information sharing between Canadian and EU regulators will result in more compatible regulatory measures that could make it easier for Canadians to do business in the EU.
e. Ensuring early cooperation on food safety, animal and plant life and health strengthens the protection of Canadians while preventing misunderstandings that might restrict the free movement of goods.
f. CETA provisions will offer special recognition for unique Canadian areas of activity such as biotechnology, science, technology and innovation.
g. CETA will ensure greater transparency and information sharing in the matter of subsidies.
h. Clear rules will support a transparent and fair trading environment between Canada and the EU.
i. CETA’s temporary entry provisions will make it easier for highly skilled professionals and businesspeople, such as engineers and senior managers, to work in the EU.

Why the Delay?

Here is a clue: As late as May 2015, it had been believed that the legal scrubbing and translation of CETA would be completed by December 2015 with ratification votes possibly beginning in January 2016. Now, the latest speculation is that CETA isn’t likely to go before the European Parliament until mid to late 2016 or early 2017.

More clues! The major roadblock is that CETA, as negotiated, lacks sufficient political and public support to be assured of ratification in Europe. It’s fair to say the inclusion of an investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in the deal makes it toxic. – See more at: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/ratifying-ceta-easier-said-done#sthash.UUs9R3Ru.dpuf

Another clue: “ISDS” became a buzzword in current negotiations between the US and EU. Wrangling over the Investor State Dispute Settlement process — arbitrary courts of lawyers from both sides that help settle rows — now threatens to upend Canada’s own deal. (Article found here: http://www.politico.eu/article/canada-may-be-loser-in-us-eu-trade-deal/)

Final clue for today: Investment-to-state arbitration or ISDS is a system of international arbitration designed to protect foreign investors from discrimination or unfair treatment by governments. More information can be found here:
http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ceta/questions-and-answers/ (Website of the European Commission

Other Interesting Articles/Websites regarding CETA

1. Ten Things You need to Know About CETA


2. Top Ten Reasons Why CETA is Bad for Canada.


3. Ten Questions about CETA


4. Justin Trudeau writes letter of support to Davis over CETA


5. Finally: Opponents of CETA are concerned the agreement will be more beneficial to the EU than to Canada. According to an internal EU analysis of the agreement, EU exporters will save more than $670 million annually in duty payments compared with about $225 million saved annually by Canadian exporters


26 Oct 2015
October 26, 2015

Belgian Mission – CETA Seminar

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The Seminar

Selfie at the Fairmont HotelWhen I was invited to the two-hour “The Canada-EU Trade Deal:  Impact on Your Business” Seminar, I decided to go, just to see what is happening with CETA.  I heard my first mention of CETA in 2010 and always wondered what the delay was. Recently, the new General Consul to Germany, Josef Beck, explained to me how the 1500 page ceta doPanel of Speakers at Belgin Seminarcument has to be translated into the 28 official languages, which can take 6-months or longer. I have to admit, I did not really take all the translation work into account.  I just assumed the document would be in English. The Consolidated CETA Text can be found here:  http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/ceta-aecg/text-texte/toc-tdm.aspx?lang=eng

The moderator of the seminar was Mr. Luc Luwel, from the Association of Belgian Chambers of Commerce.  He began the day by introducing Ms. Christine Hogan,Canada’s Federal Deputy Minister of International Trade, who was the first to speak.  Then the Honourable e. Marie-Anne Conns, the European Ambassador to Canada from Ottawa had a turn.  All speeches took place in the “Vancouver Island Room” on the conference floor at the Fairmount Hotel Vancouver on Georgia Street.  Once the main speeches were done, the Panel was set up.

The Panel consisted of Mr. Bart Van Vooren, an Attorney in Brussels/Belgium,  Mr. Piet Vanthemsche, the President of the Belgian Farmer’s Union.  Then, Mr. Celso Bascariol, President of the EU Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West, as well as an Attorney for Watson & Goepel LLP in Vancouver spoke.  We also heard from Mrl Jayson Myers, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.  Finally, Mr. Valere Vangeel, the Belgian Federal Ministery of Economy, SME’s, Self-Employed & Energy, was asked to present the closing statements.

Panel of Speakers
Selfie with Belgian Delegate

The panel members each received a turn to talk, then we had a question and answer session.  My question was “Now that Trudeau has been elected, what does he say to CETA?”  The response was that they felt he supported CETA and that he hasn’t changed his mind since he first expressed his thoughts.  The aim of the seminar was to provide insight into how the CETA agreement could influence your business and how you should prepare for this now!


Canada and European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement was created due to the fact that “Canada’s historical and cultural ties with the EU make it an ideal partner for an ambitious, comprehensive trade agreement. In fact, the EU is already our second-largest trade and investment partner, next only to the United States. The EU, with its 28 member states, 500 million people and annual economic activity of almost $18 trillion (see Table 1), is the world’s largest economy, bigger than the United States (see Table 2). CETA will eliminate tariffs for Canadian goods entering the EU market, providing them preferential access not enjoyed by our competitors in other countries, which still face tariffs. CETA will also guarantee Canadian service suppliers secure preferential market access. These improvements to our trading relationship with the EU will give Canadian businesses—from farms to engineering consultancies—new opportunities to increase their exports of world-class goods, services and expertise.” A lot more information can be found here:  http://international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/ceta-aecg/understanding-comprendre/overview-apercu.aspx?lang=eng

More Seminars

Seminar ‘The Agro-Food sector in Belgium: Together Strong in Quality & Innovation’
Tuesday October 27, 9:30am-11:30:
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver Island Room, Conference Floor
900 Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC, V6C 2W6

Register by sending an email to: BelgianAgroFoodSeminar@shaw.ca