As most of you have discovered, the European Union (EU) and Canada signed a free trade agreement with ambitious targets designed to stimulate, reciprocally, jobs and growth. Some 40 national and regional parliaments in Europe have yet to ratify the pact, and there remains some residual opposition to it in Canada, but we in Nova Scotia should applaud the initiative. Here’s why:
Nova Scotia stands to benefit significantly from this preferred access to the EU market. The EU is already Nova Scotia’s second-largest trading partner and largest export destination. CETA will eliminate tariffs on almost all of Nova Scotia’s key exports and provide access to new market opportunities in the EU.
According to official Government of Canada statistics, Nova Scotia’s fish and seafood exports to the EU were worth an average of $142.6 million annually between 2010 and 2012, making this sector the largest source of Nova Scotia’s exports to the EU.
Nova Scotia exports more than 30 agricultural goods to over 60 countries around the world. As the world’s largest importer of agricultural and agri-food goods, with more than $130 billion worth of imports in 2012, the EU presents new and expanded export opportunities for Nova Scotia’s agricultural and agri-food sector, not only in areas of traditional strength but also in innovation-driven niche goods.
When CETA comes into force, almost 96% of EU tariff lines for fish and seafood will be duty-free. Within seven years, 100% of these tariff lines will be duty-free, making our world-class products more competitive and creating the conditions for increased sales and more jobs. For example, EU tariffs will be eliminated on:
- live lobster, from a rate of 8%
- frozen lobster, from rates up to 16%
- processed lobster, from a rate of 20%
- snow crab, from rates up to 8%
- frozen scallops, from a rate of 8%
- frozen shrimp, from a rate of 12%
- cooked and peeled shrimp, from a rate of 20%
These are just a few of the Nova Scotia based products affected. While the passage of CETA has been several years in the making and has not been smooth, the deal is important to both Nova Scotia and Canada because it will significantly reduce our reliance on the United States as an export market.