CETA has remained a major talking point in the Canadian business circles for quite a while now. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a free-trade agreement between Canada and the European Union and it is expected to eliminate 98% of the tariffs between Canada and the EU.
Earlier this year the European parliament approved the landmark deal and EU lawmakers voted for the CETA even as protesters thronged the parliament area. But the more controversial parts of the deal with include the investor court system will take more time to be ratified by EU member states.
However experts feel that smaller Canadian companies are not yet ready to take advantage of CETA and lack the global ambition that could help them. The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters association senior vice president Matthew Wilson said the companies are not ready for increased access to economy.
Out of Canadas one million small and medium sized businesses only 40 thousand export to countries other than the United States. Hopefully more companies will see the potential for opportunities in Europe and look to expand their operations, experts said.
CETA cannot bring about immediate changes but could lead to more exports in the future. Craig Alexander, chief economist for the Conference Board of Canada expects to see a increase of around $1.4 billion exports by 2023.
Various industry sectors stand to gain from the increased access to the European economy including manufacturing, commodities, service industries like construction and exports of seafood.
Even as smaller companies are struggling to utilise the CETA to their advantage, larger companies are already on board to make changes that CETA is expected to bring. Several companies have said they are looking forward to new business opportunities and have access to skilled workers thanks to labour mobility rules. In the midst of the CETA controversy it really remains to be seen what an ordinary Canadian businessman can hope to achieve from it.