The parliament of the European Union (EU) today ratified the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a free-trade agreement between the EU and Canada. The agreement, which eliminates 98 percent of tariffs between the two markets and harmonizes some regulatory provisions, will still need to be approved by the Canadian parliament, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government should easily have the votes to pass it.
CETA’s ratification by Parliament comes after a fraught year for the agreement in Europe with the regional government of Wallonia temporarily blocking Belgium from signing the agreement in October and protestors restricting access to parliament’s vote on Wednesday.
Most worrying for the U.S. dairy industry is the inclusion of restrictions on the use of generic food names, like asiago, feta, fontina, gorgonzola and muenster in the agreement, exclusively for the EU. Canada also agreed to reallocate 800 metric tons of its 20,412 metric ton WTO tariff-rate quota for cheese to the EU, further restricting the limited access that U.S. cheese exporters have to the Canadian market.
IDFA’s statement on the agreement’s provisions can be found here.
Some specific aspects of CETA will require approval by EU member states but for the majority of provisions, implementation is still expected to begin in the spring of this year, although no firm date has been set.
For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at email@example.com.