On Thursday, 23 February, the Saeima ratified the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Canada, of the other part.
“Given the security challenges we face, the CETA will strengthen our geopolitical position and greatly solidify the transatlantic bonds,” underlined Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The CETA is a new generation EU trade deal, the implementation of which will cut 99.5% of customs tariffs. Until now, customs duties levied on Latvian exports to Canada amounted to several millions of euros. According to the Agreement, the service sector will be subject to the most favourable regime, as service providers will gain access to the Canadian market at both the federal and provincial level. Service providers in such areas as finance, telecommunications, marine transport and environment will benefit from the Agreement.
After the signing of the CETA, EU companies will become eligible to compete in federal, provincial and local level public tenders announced by Canadian authorities. The CETA also offers a more streamlined diploma recognition system and improved investment protection standards.
The Agreement lays down precise investment protection standards and establishes an investment court system for resolution of investment disputes. The court will consist of 15 judges – five from the EU, five from Canada and another five from third countries.
The CETA will not change, diminish or repeal EU standards in any of the regulated areas; all standards, including food and product safety, consumer protection and health, will remain intact.
The CETA contains several clauses designed to protect the national interests of Latvia, for instance, regarding purchase of farmlands, mass media and publishing activities, as well as veterinary, security, pharmaceutical, legal, passenger and cargo road transportation services. The Agreement has other clauses for the EU, as well.
The EU-Canada free trade agreement shall come to force once it is ratified by both parties. The CETA must be ratified by the Parliament of Canada and the parliaments of all EU member states. The European Parliament approved the CETA on 15 February.
Saeima Press Service