Introducing the CETA Trade Agreement

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

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:

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.

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