Five years ago, amid much protest in various European countries, a free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union was applied, albeit temporarily. CETA is a highly complex trade agreement that eliminates duties on about 98 percent of trade, improves market access for services and introduces protection for geographical indications.
It has not been ratified by 11 countries, including Italy, and will soon be 8 as France, Germany and Belgium work to complete the ratification process. After five years, an initial assessment of the FTA and its effects on both economies can be made. Since CETA came into effect, European exports to Canada have grown by 26 percent, while total two-way trade has reached 60 billion euros.
As European Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis underlined during the five-year celebration of the agreement, these numbers include the possibility for the EU to gain preferential access to the exporting country’s energy and raw materials market. as Canada. European energy imports from Ottawa are set to increase by 70 percent between 2016 and 2021, as are some of the most basic raw materials for European industry, such as uranium, zinc, nickel and copper. At the same time, the exchange of goods, technologies and services continues to expand.
Not surprisingly, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Canada in the last weeks of August, accompanied by representatives of some of the country’s biggest companies. It is easy to imagine that institutional work led to the definition of a symbolic agreement for greater cooperation in the development of hydrogen fuels, but informally, natural gas was also discussed.
In fact, Canada is the fourth largest gas producer in the world, although it is not currently the number one wishlist Germany of potential suppliers, as there are no facilities to send exports to Europe without going through the US.
Advantages for Italy
Our country’s figure is higher than the EU average. Exports of Italian goods to Canada have grown 36 percent over the past five years, compared to an average increase of 16.8 percent in Made in Italy exports to the rest of the world. To record the most significant results, sectors such as fashion, agri-food, machinery, vehicles and transportation equipment account for more than 60 per cent of exports in and around Ottawa.
In terms of bilateral trade, Italy is Canada’s second European supplier after Germany, and our country ranks first and fourth in the world in the agri-food sector alone.
Despite these numbers, Italy remains one of the 11 EU countries that have yet to ratify the treaty.
In recent years, the FdI, Lega and Movimento 5 Stelle have spoken out clearly against CETA. The party now led by Giuseppe Conte has even approved a motion against the ratification of CETA by some municipalities. Free trade agreements with third countries are obviously a futile exercise as they are an exclusive competence of the EU.
Even the main parties forming the new government have spoken out against the free trade agreement, with Georgia Meloni saying not too long ago that CETA was a bad deal. This strong opposition, shared by Lega, derives from health and food safety concerns, but above all from the perception of a protectionist market that struggles to see the prospects of this type of agreement.
On the issue of food safety, the complaints of these parties do not seem to be successful, for example, Europe has imposed itself by preventing the spread of Canadian meat treated with hormones in the single market. The agreement provides that both parties retain the ability to comply with sanitary and phytosanitary rules when importing food, animals and plants to protect health and safety and to protect their citizens from the introduction of harmful organisms.
Competition arguments and fears that the deal will damage local food specialties are also causing a lot of confusion. Conversely, with the introduction of CETA, recognition of more than 140 European Geographical Indications is guaranteed in Canada, prohibiting the attachment of misleading symbols and imitations, such as the Italian flag or phrases such as “Made in Italy” to Canadian products. A stop on this way to the eventItalian sound.
Five years later, in short, it can be said that the effects of the free trade agreement on European growth and employment are positive and that CETA is not the hunger monster that some imagined. The new government needs to get rid of the ideological issues and start thinking about the benefits that these types of trade deals, with due diligence, can bring to strongly committed countries.export Like Italy.
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