Canada and the EU have a long history of economic cooperation. As an integrated block, the EU represents Canada's second largest trading partner in goods and services. Bilateral economic relations with the EU are very important to Canada, and this economic relationship is a high priority for the Government of Canada. Canada and the EU are working bilaterally to advance Canada-EU economic integration and facilitate trade and investment flows. The relationship is built on a base of concluded agreements and ongoing initiatives and negotiations. Canada is now negotiating with the European Union a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).This is, by far, Canada's most ambitious trade initiative, with the potential to produce even more benefits than the historic North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Complementary to the multilateral process, Canada and the EU are working bilaterally to advance Canada-EU economic integration and facilitate trade and investment flows. The relationship is built on a base of concluded agreements and ongoing initiatives and negotiations.
At the EU-Canada Summit on May 6, 2009 in Prague, Canadian and EU Leaders announced the launch of negotiations towards concluding a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU. According to the Canada-EU joint study, liberalizing trade in goods and services could bring a potential 20% boost to bilateral trade and GDP gains of up to $12 billion for Canada.
Canada and the EU have completed the ninth round of negotiations. The negotiating text is now well-advanced, with many chapters closed or parked pending further development, and issues in the remaining chapters narrowed down to key differences where solutions are now being actively explored.
Both Canada and the EU are committed to maintaining the momentum of the negotiations thus far.
At the 2007 EU-Canada Summit in Berlin, Canadian and EU Leaders agreed to complete a joint study examining the costs and benefits of pursuing a closer economic partnership. Officials were tasked with completing the joint study before the next (2008) Canada-EU Summit. Among its findings, the study found that significant benefits could be realized by liberalizing trade between Canada and the EU.
The completed study was reviewed by Leaders at the 2008 Canada-EU Summit. In part due to the study's findings, Leaders agreed to pursue a closer economic partnership in an effort unlock the full potential of the Canada-EU economic relationship. Leaders also agreed to take the steps necessary to obtain negotiating mandates with a view to beginning formal negotiations as early as possible in 2009. As a first step, Canadian and EU officials conducted a 'Scoping Exercise' to establish the areas for negotiation of an ambitious and comprehensive economic agreement (see the Joint Report on the EU-Canada Scoping Exercise). The scoping report was completed March 2009, paving the way for the launch of negotiations at the May 2009 Canada-EU Summit.
The negotiation of such a close economic partnership enjoys strong support in the business communities on both sides of the Atlantic, as set out in a joint letter issued by the Canada-Europe Roundtable for Business, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and BUSINESSEUROPE in November 2010.
On February 28, 2012, at the annual meeting of federal, provincial and territorial trade ministers in Ottawa, a joint communiqué was issued expressing unified support for a Canada-EU trade agreement and recognizing that "there is no more important Canadian trade negotiating priority today."
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