Ottawa – The federal government has released more details behind the free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.
A summary of the tentative free trade agreement was tabled in the House of Commons on Oct. 29.
Called Technical Summary of Final Negotiated Outcomes, the complete report can be found by clicking here.
The summary report of the deal suggests that European exporters will save three times as much in annual duty payments as Canadian exporters, reports CBC.ca.
According to The Canadian Press, an internal EU analysis of the agreement found that European Union exporters will save more than $670 million annually in duty payments compared with about $225 million annually for Canada’s.
Part of the reason for the gap on tariff elimination, says the CBC.ca, is that Europe currently exports more to Canada than the reverse, meaning EU exporters currently pay more duties.
The federal government says it will make up for the lost $670 million in tariff revenues with the gains on the economy, reports the CBC.ca.
Food and beer names
Included in the summary is an explanation of how the agreement will affect 179 common food and beer names that are used by Canadian companies, reports Canada.com.
The summary report has a comprehensive list of all the food and beverage names affected.
In Canada, for example, manufacturers can use, regardless of product origin, the names: Valencia orange, Black Forest ham, Tiroler bacon, Parmesan, Bavarian beer, and Munich beer. But Canadian manufacturers of Black Forest ham would not be able to use the German Schwarzwaelder Schinken.
The EU also wants certain names protected because they are associated with specific geographic regions in the EU.
Some examples include some multi-part terms. In these cases, the free-trade agreement will work like this:
• “Brie de Meaux” will be protected, but Canadian manufacturers can use the term “brie” on its own.
• “Gouda Holland“ will be protected, but Canadian manufacturers can use the term “Gouda” on its own.
• “Edam Holland” will be protected, but Canadian manufacturers can use the term “Edam” on its own.
• “Mortadella Bologna“ will be protected, but Canadian manufacturers can use either “Mortadella” or “bologna” separately.
The agreement also provides the EU with Geographical Indications on Asiago, feta, fontina, Gorgonzola and Munster.
The agreement won’t affect Canadian manufacturers who currently use the names in Canada, but future manufacturers can only use the names if they’re accompanied by expressions such as “kind,” “type,” style,” “imitation” or the like.
Bad news for dairy producers?
Therese Beaulieu, a spokesperson for the Dairy of Farmers of Canada, told Canada.com that the arrangement is unfair and says it will negatively affect Canadian cheese producers trying to enter the market.
Canadian dairy farmers are already upset with the provision allowing an additional 15,000 tonnes of European cheese to enter the Canadian market, which doubles the current the limit.
“We’ve always believed that these are common names,” she says. “It’s not a flavour, it’s not imitation. It’s the real thing that’s being made by our cheese makers.”
Ed Fast, Canada’s International Trade minister, says the protection of specific geographic terms for products was a key priority for the EU, and giving in on them meant Canada could make gains in other areas, reports Canada.com.
Other highlights from the summary report, says the CBC.ca, include:
• Full elimination of duties on all non-agricultural goods.
• 99 per cent of industrial goods will be duty free immediately (100 per cent after seven years), including forestry, chemical and plastic products that will be duty free on Day 1.
• 95.5 per cent of fish and seafood products will be duty free immediately (100 per cent after seven years), including live lobster, frozen lobster and frozen shrimp.
• 94 per cent of agricultural tariffs will be eliminated, with tariffs immediately eliminated from items including maple syrup, fresh and frozen fruits, cherries, fresh apples and cat and dog food.
• Canadian beef producers will be able to sell 50,000 tonnes of beef; pork producers will be able to sell 81,000 tonnes of pork
• There will also be duty free, quota free access to the EU dairy market.
While the agreement still needs to be fine-tuned and likely won’t be ratified for another two years, it is expected to provide Canadian exporters full access to EU markets and remove 98 per cent of EU tariffs on a wide range of Canadian products, reports CBC.ca.