The Stephen Harper Government has just signed a free trade agreement with the European Union. This is a deal that has been on Canada's mind since the 1970s in part to reduce reliance on USA as our main trading partner. The E.U. boasts 500 million potential customers and is the largest world market, which according to Harper means CETA will provide "thousands of new jobs for Canadians and a half-billion new customers for Canadian business." But every coin has two sides, and this new pact may not be good news for everyone.
After four years of negotiations, the Canada-European Union free trade agreement is the largest deal our country has made since NATO in the 1980s. In a word, it's huge. But is it a good move or a bad move? How will it affect the food industry and its key players? Will restaurant prices go up or down?
Here's a snapshot:
· Shrimp, crab and lobsters from Newfoundland and Labrador will have 20% tariffs eliminated
· Ontario's minimum processing rules for seafood, which some find protective, will cease
· Cattlemen can export an additional 50,000 tonnes of tariff-free beef (the previous quota was only 15,000 tonnes)
· Cheesemongers can now export their fromage to the E.U. tariff-free
· The tariff-free quota for cheese coming into Canada has now doubled, prompting calls for compensation ... especially for the artisan cheesemakers whose sales could become affected
· Regarding wine, the levies based on product value would become a flat fee, meaning cheap plonk makers would pay the same levy as those selling Grand Cru
How do you anticipate CETA will affect the restaurant industry? Is this a good move or a bad move? Why? Leave your comments below.
· John Ivison: Harper's Huge EU Free-Trade Deal Justifies Lawmakers' Hyperbole [Post]
· Canada, EU, Unveil 'Historic' Free Trade Agreement [Globe]
· Ontario Will Push For Compensation if EU Trade Deal Hurts Some Industries [Star]