CETA Trade Deal Remains on Schedule

Government officials have confirmed that the official scheduled start time for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union has not changed. This comes in the wake of recent developments which suggested the CETA could be delayed.

The agreement earlier has a fast track approval process planned which has now been modified to give the 28 EU member states the final approval; however the newer method will not bring the process to a standstill.

“An agreement of the scope of CETA can be complex and take a significant amount of time to fully implement” Perrin Beatty, CCC

With the new method, the trade pact would be agreed-to provisionally and the signatories will later work out the details. Senior government officials, who spoke to the media, also made it clear the timeline of the approval process is not expected to change.

“An agreement of the scope of CETA can be complex and take a significant amount of time to fully implement,” Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said. “However, about 90 per cent of the trade deal can be put in place once the European Parliament has ratified (it), leaving only a smaller portion to be approved by each individual country’s parliamentary system.”

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has insisted CETA is “a gold-plated trade deal.”

The deal is not expected to slow down even due to other reasons like Brexit, even though economists were concerned that Brexit could hamper CETA. However it remains to be seen whether the U.K.’s exit will impact the deal. The U.K will take another 10 years to completely withdraw from the EU according to experts and until then will be bound by its agreements which include CETA.

However the approval process for CETA is now longer. The agreement must pass though the European Council, a body comprising state leaders, and then be approved by the European parliament before it can be effective. Since all member countries need to vote on the deal, it can become a rather long drawn out process.

However Canadian officials remain optimistic and expect the entire process to be completed by the end of 2016 or early 2017. If some EU members disapprove CETA, the agreement could still go ahead provisionally by mid 2017 for 5 years.

Can we expect a speedy ratification of CETA? Only time will tell.