Canada’s Trade Minister congratulates Latvia’s leadership in being first to ratify Canada-EU landmark trade agreement
February 23, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, today congratulated Latvia’s parliament for its approval of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
With the positive vote at the Saeima (Parliament of the Republic of Latvia in Riga), Latvia becomes the first of the EU’s 28 member states to ratify the agreement.
On February 15, 2017, the European Parliament approved CETA, which enables the EU to provisionally apply virtually all significant parts of the agreement, allowing businesses to take advantage of the many economic opportunities. For example, tariff elimination will enhance the competitiveness of Canadian exports to Latvia, including in the following sectors: information and communication technologies and electrical products (current EU tariffs of up to 14 percent), machinery and equipment (current EU tariffs of up to 8 percent) and scientific instruments (current EU tariffs of up to 6.7 percent). In the agricultural and food sectors, Canadian exporters will benefit from duty-free access to Latvia for products such as frozen fruits, fish and seafood (notably frozen shrimp and frozen salmon), as well as dog and cat food.
CETA needs to be ratified domestically and by each EU member state before it can be fully brought into force. This agreement sets a new bar for progressive trade agreements that will support local jobs and growth, give consumers more choice and enable greater protections for workers and the environment.
When in Riga, Minister Champagne also met with Māris Kučinskis, Latvia’s Prime Minister; Arvils Ašeradens, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economics; and Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as with Ināra Mūrniece, the Speaker of the Saeima. The Minister also met with representatives of the start-up community TechHub Riga, engineering firms and airBaltic to explore just some of the current and future trade and investment opportunities that will grow with the passage of CETA.
Canada enjoys an excellent relationship with Latvia. In 2016, Canada announced that it would become a Framework Nation by leading a multinational NATO battlegroup in Latvia as part of the alliance’s enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern Europe.
Canada commends Latvia’s leadership on being the first to ratify this ground-breaking trade agreement. The successful passing of CETA in Latvia is an important step on the road to full ratification of an agreement that will bring prosperity to the middle class and those working hard to join it across Europe and Canada.
- François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade
Latvia’s GDP per capita growth has been in the top 10 of EU countries between 2012 and 2015.
Merchandise exports from Canada to Latvia reached $224.1 million in 2016, more than seven times the amount of $29.3 million in 2015. The driving force behind the increase was the initial payment for the purchase of 20 Bombardier CS300 aircraft by Latvia-based airBaltic, the first one of which had its initial commercial flight in December 2016.
Merchandise imports to Canada from Latvia in 2016 were $36.6 million.
Localized demands in the Baltic region for higher-value, higher-quality goods have the potential for creating stronger trade and investment opportunities for Canadian companies.
Canada is moving forward with CETA approval domestically, so that it may be provisionally applied as soon as possible. The House of Commons approved Bill C-30, the CETA Implementation Act, on February 14, 2017, and the bill was introduced in the Senate the same day.
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