CTT Inc. was honoured by a visit by the Honourable Minister Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, who announced the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in our office in Kitchener last October. As Minister Finley said:
"This historic agreement is Canada's most ambitious ever, and is a big win for workers and families in Southwestern Ontario, particularly in the advanced manufacturing, ICT and agricultural industries."
That announcement in CTT's office was followed by an opportunity for me to represent Invest Canada and the CCCA (Consider Canada City Alliance) in Europe in November as our focus, especially presenting the business case of the EU-Canada CETA at a breakfast of Dutch Leaders and later in Amsterdam at a public event with Jayson Myers, CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).
Promoting the agreement to European leaders is highly useful, but more importantly, so is ensuring that our community understands the opportunity and develops a strategy on how to take advantage of it when it's signed less than two years from now. Other than some media on the topic, very little strategic discussion is flowing about the importance of this agreement at events and meetings locally. However, recently at a CTT event promoting messaging about the Waterloo Region among our local ambassador community, I raised the following idea to the ambassadors: that it is essential that we leverage this agreement by pulling together a local strategy to take advantage of the CETA agreement.
The Canada-EU CETA is one of the most important economic development opportunities since the US-Canada Free Trade Act, now over 27 years old. Canada and the Waterloo Region will have a tremendous advantage over other countries around the world, including the United States, as we will have access to over 850 Million consumers through NAFTA and the EU-Canada CETA agreement. But the advantage may be time limited as the USA will not be too far behind by a few years.
Developing the strategy should be undertaken now, even before the final agreement is signed so that when it is, we can move forward immediately and not wait months or years. This was part of my message when I appeared before the Standing Committee on International Trade (CIIT) of the House of Commons on February 13, 2014 in Ottawa on this topic. Hopefully, it will be raised as part of local discussion when opportunities arise.
Accordingly, CTT Inc. will host a discussion focused on this Agreement in our inaugural new FDI and international thought leadership speakers series called "Third Tuesdays". That's right- on a third Tuesday of a month; we will host a focused discussion on topics that impact Foreign Direct Investment in the Region as well as topics related to promotion of this Region internationally and major global topics of impact to the Regional economy.
March 18, 2014 THIRD TUESDAY INAUGURAL PRESENTATION
EU-CANADA CETA AGREEMENT - What Does It mean For You?
The benefits that the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement will bring to this Region will be immense. Once in force, the Canada-EU trade agreement, together with NAFTA, will give our Region's businesses preferential access to the two largest, most developed and most sophisticated economies in the world - the United States and Europe. The opportunities are huge - a market almost fifteen times the size of Canada's economy. It will do more to transform our local and national economy than any agreement since NAFTA, representing a market of 500 million consumers in 28 European countries with $17 trillion in economic activity.
Once it comes into force, the agreement will immediately eliminate 98 percent of all tariffs; help to improve general export conditions through measures that ease regulatory barriers; reinforce intellectual property rights; and ensure more transparent rules for market access. But there may be some people and organizations locally who may feel that we may not be able to compete with some of these European countries once the floodgates are opened. We should hear from them as well, to understand better our local businesses issues.
While Canadian businesses stand to benefit, so will Canadian consumers. Looking for a less expensive BMW? Well this will be your time to get one! There will be more choice in consumer products - and with more competition usually comes better prices and service. Additional benefits are perceived to be in the HR environment with access to larger pools of skilled talent on both sides of the pond.
This "3rd Tuesday" event on March 18th is your chance to get an in-depth look at the agreement with a key individual who not only has been involved in the process for many years to get to this point, but, more importantly for you, has the answers to your important questions on this agreement.