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Approval of Canada-EU Trade Agreement Welcome News Amid U.S. Protectionism Worries

February 15, 2017

The Conference Board of Canada’s Chief Economist Craig Alexander offers the following perspectives on the approval of CETA.


CETA will be bring economic benefits to both Canada and the European Union. Amid worries of U.S. protectionism, the opportunities CETA creates provides a shinning example that international trade is not a zero-sum game.
—Craig Alexander, Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist, The Conference Board of Canada.


  • The European Union parliament has given approval to implement the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union. Each member state of the EU still has to give its final approval, but the latest vote by the EU will allow implementation of the trade agreement on a provisional basis.
  • CETA will remove most tariffs on Canadian exports. Conference Board of Canada research estimates that eliminating these tariffs will lead to $1.4 billion more in exports in 2023, compared with a scenario in which CETA is not in place.
  • CETA will bring freer trade in services, reduced regulatory barriers, more protection for investments and measures to facilitate movement of people. These provisions matter because Canadian companies sell more in Europe (from their investments there) than they export directly to Europe.
  • The agreement opens up the EU government-procurement market to Canadian firms. It also offers Canadians access to the best European technologies, capital, inputs, and expertise.
  • CETA brings economic benefits to both Canada and the EU, and this is a message that needs to be broadcast loudly and widely. Amid the threat of U.S. protectionism, it is critical to highlight that trade between nations is not a zero sum game. It is not a barrier to growth. Indeed, economic history is clear that greater free movement of goods, services and people is a catalyst for economic growth. The way to address the disruption created by globalization is not trade barriers, but rather more support for workers who are affected by economic change. 


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Photo of Craig Alexander Craig Alexander
Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist

Craig Alexander brings over 19 years of experience in the private sector as an economic and financial forecaster to the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. He oversees the Board’s macro-economic outlook products, custom economic and tourism research.

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