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Payne applauds CETA

Posted on November 14, 2013 by Taber Times

The Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) inked last month looks to pay big dividends for Canada and Alberta in a wide variety of industries, said Medicine Hat MP, LaVar Payne.

“It’s very exciting. I think we’ll see some really great benefits for the agriculture industry here, if we look at the grains, canola, pork and beef. It’s a really positive opportunity there for us. It does open up some other avenues, with chemicals, potentially that’s going to have an impact here as well, in Alberta.”

It has been estimated that CETA could boost the Canadian economy by $12 billion annually, equivalent to creating 80,000 jobs or to boosting the average Canadian family’s income by $1,000 annually.

The CETA agreement provides full access to EU markets for Canadian wheat and a number of additional grain exports. Alberta accounts for 30 per cent of Western Canada’s wheat acreage (approximately 6.6 million acres) and about one third of the country’s total wheat production, with exports totalling more than $1.9 billion.

“I view the benefit as really positive, because it’s going to open up new markets for all kinds of agricultural products, one of the biggest markets in the world outside of China, almost 500 million people,” said Payne. “They’re certainly a region that does a lot of importing. I think people are really going to be delighted with what we can get out of this.”

The CETA will significantly reduce and eventually eliminate tariffs on a wide range of grain exports, including wheat. In recent years, Canadian exports of durum and high-protein wheat have entered Europe duty-free, however the EU maintains the right to impose tariffs (up to 90 Euro per tonne on wheat) under existing trade rules. The CETA would see these tariffs reduced to zero over a seven-year period. The tariff that now applies on Canadian exports of low-protein wheat to Europe would also be eliminated over a seven-year period. Ending these tariffs will create trade certainty and greatly lessen the risk of future protectionist trade action.

Western Canadian farmers currently export about 70 per cent of their wheat. Another 15 per cent is sold to Canadian livestock producers. The deal with Europe will expand market opportunities for grain and oilseed exports, but even more importantly will lead to growth in sales to the domestic feed market.

“It’s not only good for Alberta, but for virtually every province and territory in Canada, and will open up new markets, whether it be for the fishing industry, the automobile industry, or other manufacturing,” said Payne. “The Canada-U.S. free trade agreement has been excellent for our country, and when you think about what it has done for Canada — there’s huge opportunity here.”

The Canola Council of Canada also estimates CETA, through the elimination of tariffs on canola oil entering the EU, will provide the opportunity for exporters to increase sales by up to $90 million per year. Canola contributes $19.3 billion to the Canadian economy annually.

Since 2006, Canada has concluded free trade agreements with nine countries: Colombia, the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), Honduras, Jordan, Panama and Peru. In addition to the recent agreement-in-principle with the EU, Canada is pursuing trade agreements with more than 25 countries, including large markets such as India, Japan and the countries that comprise the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

For more information about the benefits of the Canada-EU trade agreement, please visit actionplan.gc.ca/CETA

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