Canada has put Brussels on alert, amid concern in the EU that Canada could take action against its prized trade deal. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada has long been held up as one of the big victories of the European bloc. However, just days before Britain formally quits the EU, Canadian industries have sparked alarm among European businesses.
Canada has accused the EU of “not respecting” the terms laid out in CETA, and of blocking Canadian exports to Europe.
While Europe has seen a huge boost in trade, Canadian agri-business exports to Europe have seen an astonishing 10 percent drop.
Rich Smith, the Executive Director of Alberta Beef Producers, ripped into the “roadblock imposed by the EU”.
He told France24: “We are importing more beef from the EU than we are exporting!”
As frustration with the European partnership grows, international law expert Genevieve Dufour warned that Canada could deploy its “dispute resolution mechanism” to retaliate against the EU.
She said: “If Canada believes the EU is not respecting the agreement, in agri-foods, it will take action.”
Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance chief Claire Citeau added: “The negotiated terms are not being respected.
“There are always delays, there are always exorbitant costs.
“Some demands from the EU are not adapted to the Canadian market.
“EU exports have increased but Canadian exports have dropped by 10 percent. We now have a EUR3.5billion trade deficit!”
Overall EU exports to Canada rose 11 percent in 2018 from a year earlier, but Canadian agricultural exports to the EU fell 15 percent.
Christian Siviere, a Canadian trade expert and consultant, said: “I believe European businesses have benefited more from CETA than Canadian businesses.”
CETA has yet to be fully ratified by all 27 EU member-states.
Reports in The Telegraph earlier this week suggested that the European Union was preparing to offer the UK a trade deal on tougher terms than its deals with Canada and Japan.
The dispute between the EU and Canada comes just as Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal officially became UK law.
The Withdrawal Agreement Act was signed off by the Queen on Thursday, paving the way for the country to leave the EU next week.