The political agreement reached on the key elements of a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada was announced on 18 October 2013 by EU Commission President Barroso and Canadian Prime Minister Harper. There will now be further technical discussions based on this political agreement, which are necessary to finalise the legal text of the agreement.
As regards agricultural products, there were concessions on both sides – that is part and parcel of negotiation. Both the EU and Canada have sensitivities in agricultural products. These sensitivities were among the last key issues to be finally agreed, after very long and tough negotiations. Technical discussions will now take place to agree how to phase in the new agriculture concessions that have been granted by both sides. I will seek to ensure that these are as advantageous as possible to our national interests.
I would like to point out that Irish agri business exporters also stand to gain from the hard won concessions provided by Canada. For example Canada will open for the EU a new bilateral quota of 18,500 tonnes of cheese, eliminate its tariffs on imports of milk protein concentrate, eliminate virtually all tariffs on processed agricultural products and wipe away import taxes on over 92% of agriculture tariff lines, from the first day the agreement takes effect. These are very
significant concessions to the EU made by Canada and especially in its sensitive dairy sector.
The final market access agreement in agriculture contributed to both sides concluding a trade agreement that covers virtually every aspect of economic activity, and is an extremely important one for Ireland. It is the first comprehensive trade agreement with an historically close trade and economic partner and is a landmark deal between our two transatlantic economies.
It is especially important given the close ties of family, history and culture that connect Ireland with Canada, which will help Irish entrepreneurs and innovators use the opportunities that the agreement offers, to the fullest possible extent.
The opportunities presented by the Agreement could add over €200 million to Ireland’s current €2.7 billion bilateral trade with Canada, thus creating more jobs and contributing to our economic recovery.