Europe exporters will save more on duty than Canadians in free-trade pact

OTTAWA – European exporters will save about three times the amount of duty payments compared with their Canadian counterparts in a landmark free-trade agreement, The Canadian Press has learned.

Sources say European Union exporters will save more than $670 million annually in duty payments compared with about $225 million annually for Canada’s.

That apparent win for European exporters is contained in an internal EU analysis of its sweeping agreement-in-principle with Canada, sources say.

The figures emerged Tuesday as Prime Minister Stephen Harper rose in the House of Commons to table additional details of the Canada-EU trade pact.

“The free-trade agreement between Canada and Europe is the most important signed by our country. It will lead to jobs and opportunities for families, workers, companies throughout the country,” the prime minister said.

“It is a historic moment.”

International Trade Minister Ed Fast called the 26-page document from Harper a “detailed summary” of the trade agreement with the EU.

However, it did not contain the same detailed tariff prediction making the rounds internally in Europe.

Fast rejected critics of the government who have called for the release of the full text so it can be properly judged.

“Just one more example of the openness that has characterized this entire process, we’ll be tabling a very detailed summary of these outcomes in the House of Commons,” Fast said earlier Tuesday in a speech in Ottawa.

Harper signed the agreement-in-principle in a splashy photo-op in Brussels earlier this month, saying it would create up to 80,000 jobs.

The deal is touted as easing the flow of goods and services between Canada and the European Union, including labour, autos, drugs and wine.

It will take 18 to 24 months for the deal to be ratified by both sides.

The text itself will have to “scrubbed” by lawyers, and both Canada and Europe will have to get approval of the deal from its respective constituencies, the Canadian provinces and territories and Europe’s 28 countries.

The government document is called a “Technical Summary of Final Negotiated Outcomes.”

It contains bullet-point summaries of the seven major sections of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA.

They include agricultural and non-agricultural goods, services and investment, government procurement, intellectual property and dispute settlement.

Some of the details were previously released Oct. 18 in Brussels when Harper signed the agreement-in-principle with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

CETA.pdf by Maclean's Magazine

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.