Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Trade Agreements

Photo of Ciarán CannonCiarán Cannon (Galway East, Fine Gael)
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106. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the way in which he envisages Irish consumers and businesses will benefit from the ratification of the CETA agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43948/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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CETA is one of the EU’s new generation of free trade agreements. It is designed to benefit EU and Canadian companies through improved trade flows in support of increased employment for our citizens. The elimination of tariffs, reduced trade barriers and simplified customs procedures all make it easier and cheaper for Irish companies of all sizes to export to Canada and vice versa.

The main benefits for Ireland in this Agreement include the opening up of public procurement markets in the Canadian provinces, giving Irish firms increased access to Canadian public sector purchasing. Ireland also gains unlimited tariff free-access for most of our important food exports. Irish firms will also benefit from the recognition of product standards and certification, saving on ‘double testing’ on both sides of the Atlantic – a particular benefit for SMEs.

CETA has provisionally applied across the EU since the 21st September 2017, meaning those areas where the EU has full competence are already in force. Since then, duties on 98% of products that the EU trades with Canada have been removed and the trade provisions which make the movement of Irish exports cheaper, faster, more predictable and efficient are in place. We can see the benefits of CETA already, exports of Irish goods and services to Canada totalled almost €4 billion in 2019, a 35% increase compared to 2016, the year prior to the provisional application of CETA.

For consumers, CETA will provide more choice, promote competition and ensure that Canadian goods coming into the EU market, meet EU product health & safety standards.

Business links between Ireland and Canada are deep and extensive. Following Europe, the US and China, Canada is our largest indigenous export market with more than 400 Enterprise Ireland companies doing business in Canada, employing over 6,000 people.

The combination of export-led growth and foreign direct investment has transformed Ireland’s economy over recent decades. As a small, open, economy, Ireland has benefitted immensely from our export orientated enterprises trading across the globe and therefore we fully support balanced international trade and the collection of EU Free Trade Agreements that seek to underpin this. So, I look forward to formal ratification of CETA by Ireland as soon as possible.


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