"Trade policy is back on track. We have managed to work out the most advanced, ambitious and up-to-date trade agreement between the EU and Canada. CETA is also Europe and Canada's answer to Donald Trump's policy. In Europe we believe that building bridges is more efficient than building walls. Instead of protectionism, we want partnership. Instead of letting globalisation happen without us, we want to shape it with our high-level standards and norms. CETA is a fair trade agreement and a model for value and standard-based cooperation for the future", said Manfred Weber MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, after today's vote on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in Plenary.
"After seven years of negotiations, we are at an historical point", emphasised Artis Pabriks MEP, European Parliament Rapporteur on CETA. Based on experience of previous trade agreements, the deal will save European exporters more than €500 million every year as nearly all import duties between the two countries will be eliminated. Furthermore, the agreement guarantees market access and creates a level playing field for businesses, advances EU agricultural interests by protecting 145 European Geographical Indications and safeguards property rights in an international context, while respecting high environmental, consumer and labour standards.
"The agreement is a golden standard for all further trade deals. CETA is double-checked and now ready to form the backbone of our future trade policy to speed up growth. All the concerns raised have been dealt with. I hope we all have the common sense to separate the wheat from the chaff and the facts from the myths", explained Pabriks, who steered CETA through the Parliament. And today's result reflects that the majority - except the trade-hostile groups in Parliament - voted in favour of CETA in the end. The EPP Group has been the only major political force in the European Parliament which has always supported it.
The EU is Canada's second biggest trading partner after the US and Canada is the fourth largest investor in Europe. Therefore it is important that the EU and Canada share the same approach on trade: "Both of us, Europe and Canada, want to shape globalisation. Now, CETA is ready so let us all act hand-in-hand: The Member States and Canada play an important role in the immediate future to ensure that the agreement is implemented with all its value and potential. Trade is the motor for jobs and growth. Europe needs to become as strong and powerful as it was before the crisis", concluded Artis Pabriks.