A focus on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)


The EU-Canada Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CETA) was signed on 30 October 2016 and approved by the European Parliament on 15 February 2017. It was approved by the Canadian Parliament on 11 May 2017. In its decision of 31 July 2017, the Constitutional Council decided that this agreement complied with the French Constitution. The Agreement has been provisionally applied by the European Union and Canada since 21 September 2017.

Its provisional entry into force on 21 September 2017 concerns provisions under for which the European Union has exclusive competence and does not include provisions on the protection of investments and the mechanism to settle disputes between investors and States. As it is a mixed agreement, its full entry into force will not happen until all of the national ratification procedures have been completed.

What the Agreement will do

This Agreement will promote trade between the European Union and Canada generating many opportunities for exports benefiting French companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises and intermediate-sized enterprises.

More concretely, this agreement will:

  • provide recognition and protection of our geographic indications,
  • facilitate our agricultural and agrifood exports (particularly wine and spirits) and industrial exports thanks to the gradual elimination of customs duties,
  • facilitate and secure investments of French companies in Canada,
  • enable European professionals to work more easily in Canada with the mutual recognition of professional qualifications,
  • improve access of French companies to Canada’s public procurement contracts,
  • improve access of French companies to Canada’s services market,
  • provide better protection of intellectual property, particularly for pharmaceutical patents.

With regard to regulations, the CETA does not change European legislation relating to hormone-treated meat and GMOs. This means that hormone-treated meat will continue to be banned, and that Canadian beef can only be imported if it complies with European standards.

Inter-ministerial Action Plan

At the request of the President of the French Republic, a commission of experts was tasked with assessing the expected impact of this Agreement on the environment, climate and health. The commission, which worked independently, issued its report on 8 September 2017. Following the recommendations of this report, an inter-ministerial action plan will be implemented to ensure that the CETA meets the objective of providing high levels of protection of the environment and health and is consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

For more information, visit our page in French.

Updated: 25.09.17