The European Union achieved a major success in the negotiations in the field of public procurement in particular. Under CETA, Canada will open up tendering procedures of the provinces and municipalities – the levels of administration at which the bulk of public contracts are awarded – to European bidders. Germany has long been open to foreign bidders for government contracts. Under CETA, this will also apply to German firms in Canada – particularly in key sectors like energy, telecommunications and services.
Cutting tariffs, opening up markets, reducing the burden on business
CETA will cut close to 99% of tariffs that still exist between the two economies. This will create new scope for selling goods and services on either side of the Atlantic: not only for industrial goods, but also for agricultural produce. With CETA, service providers will enjoy easier access to the postal and telecommunications sectors, for instance. Canada has also agreed to open up some routes in its maritime sector.
A joint agreement will generate a fresh stimulus for small and medium-sized firms: according to the European Commission, the tariff cuts could save European companies some €470 million in expenses every year. The European Commission estimates that CETA will boost bilateral trade in goods and services by some 23% across the EU, and that the EU’s annual GDP will be increased by approximately €12 billion a year.
CETA protects high standards on both sides of the Atlantic
CETA confirms social and environmental standards and protects special European and Canadian features and achievements, such as regional specialities, public services and cultural diversity. It ensures that measures are maintained and can be taken in future to shape public services and to regulate, e.g. in the fields of education, health, social affairs, water supply, culture and media. CETA does not create any obligation to privatise public services, and it will remain possible to bring such services back under the aegis of municipalities in future.
Also, all the requirements in a contracting party’s laws and ordinances on labour and welfare protection naturally remain in force – including the provisions on the minimum wage and collective agreements. Germany has introduced wide-ranging special rules on shaping and organising public services and regulation.
Cultural diversity and the precautionary principle remain in place
CETA will not impact on cultural diversity. The agreement confirms the desire of the contracting parties to protect cultural diversity. Cultural funding is safeguarded at several points in the agreement, and no market liberalisation commitments have been entered into for audiovisual services.
And the EU’s precautionary principle, according to which measures can be taken even if the scientific basis is still incomplete, in order to prevent dangers arising to human health or the environment, will continue to be applied, e.g. regarding the non-licensing of certain plant protection products or certain procedures in food production.
CETA: setting a benchmark for future agreements
CETA is a modern agreement which provides a huge opportunity to lay down fair and sound rules for ever deepening globalisation and to play an active role in it. The high standards agreed between the EU and Canada will form a benchmark for future trade agreements. .