EU Chamber of Commerce in Canada – West is a non-profit, membership-based organization incorporated in November 2013 under the Society Act of BC.
Its start-up is funded by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada – West with a goal of becoming self sustaining bilateral trade organization based on the income from business services, corporate membership as well as from the project based private and public funding. Its six founding directors are Canadian citizens originally from Germany, Italy, UK, Croatia, Poland and France.
The EU is Canada’s second-largest trading partner and the world’s largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers and a GDP of over $17 trillion. The Comprehensive and Economic Agreement (CETA) represents Canada’s most significant trade initiative since the much debated and divisive North American Free Trade Agreement.
Western Canada is under-represented in the trade dynamic with the EU, particularly regarding small and medium sized companies. Whereas large corporations can marshal considerable resources to facilitate internationalization, SMEs often underestimate their potential to be successful internationally, to become a “micro-multinational” in effect, because they lack knowledge of foreign markets and because of perceived obstacles. Among these perceived obstacles are difficulties in identifying market opportunities and entry strategies, choosing reliable foreign partners, accessing financing, overcoming trade barriers, and complying with security and authentication requirements.
While the West historically and naturally looks towards Asia as its most important secondary trade partner, with the signing of CETA, bilateral opportunities will flourish and SMEs in Western Canada need to position themselves in order to capitalize upon those opportunities.
Over the past two decades in Vancouver, most of the trade and business associations dealing primarily with single member states have closed their doors, gone dormant or moved elsewhere. Yet now, as never before, the presence of an organization facilitating trade and investment with the European Union would be required to assist companies in Canada and the EU capitalize on the market liberalization that CETA will bring.
We act as a service-centre for providing information, business contacts, organizing trade & investment missions to Fairs and Conventions and generally acting as a catalyst between economic operators in Western Canada and in the EU.
We provide business tools, support and assistance for:
We draw our members from Canadian companies interested in doing business in the EU as well as EU businesses present in Western Canada. As a membership-based organization we offer our business services to members at discounted prices.
We focus on activities within industry sectors prominent in Western Canada:
Our main upcoming activities:
Consolidated text of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was officially released on Friday, September 26th during the EU-Canada Summit in Ottawa. A 1634-page document was released publicly after almost five years of negotiations between Canada and the European Union (EU). The declaration marking the end of negotiations was signed on Friday by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.
The text was released to Canadian and European government officials in August 2014 and now it is waiting for its ratification in 28 EU member states’ national parliaments. The process of ratification is expected to take from 12 to 24 months.
Quick facts about CETA for Canadian businesses:
Canada’s most ambitious cross-trade deal, even more than the North American Free Trade Agreement.
It will eliminate tariffs and opens new business development and market access opportunities for Canadian businesses – SMEs especially.
It will provide Canadian companies access to all 28 EU markets.
It will include government procurement opportunities for Canadian and European companies.
It will allow for investment in Canada from European companies. The EU is currently the second-largest investor in Canada – more than $171-billion in 2012, representing over 24% of total foreign investment in this country. Canada is the fourth-largest investor in the EU – almost $181-billion in 2012, representing over 28% of Canadian direct investment abroad.
It will boost bilateral trade by 23% and create jobs in virtually every sector of the Canadian economy.
It will translate into a $12 billion, or a 0.8% annual increase in Canadian GDP (estimates by the Canadian Ministry for Foreign Affairs).
It will allow for mutual recognition of some professional certifications.
Fewer visa restrictions will enable Canadian enterprises to move professional labor between the EU and Canada.
Full consolidated CETA text:
Related articles on CETA:
Eleven months after the signature of an agreement-in-principle between Canada and the European Union (EU), the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement’s (CETA) final details will be released on September 25th in Ottawa during the Canada – EU summit, according to the last CETA press release on August 5th. German news broadcaster ARD posted recently a 519-page “leaked” document issued by the EU revealing first details of the so long-awaited trade deal. Canada expects the final document to be approximately 1,500 pages long. Despite its public release scheduled for the end of September 2014, it is likely to take another two years for the agreement to come into effect.
The initial negotiations starting approximately five years ago have caused many intense debates on both sides of the deal and despite of some criticism the agreement has been signed. CETA offers new opportunities not only for manufacturers and services providers but also consumer thanks to a tariff elimination and quota reduction. CETA opens doors to a 500-million European consumers market for Canadian businesses. These will also have access to procurement markets on EU and state levels. The deal is expected to bring more investments from EU to Canada as well, therefore creating more business and job opportunities.
CETA is often described as a historical moment for international trade in Canada as it potentially opens more opportunities than NAFTA did and it allows Canadian economy to be more diversified and less reliant on its main trading partner, the U.S.
Both, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West (ICCC) and the recently established European Chamber of Commerce in Canada – West (ECCC), encourage Canadian companies to start positioning themselves in strategic places that will permit them to take advantage of wide-ranging new business opportunities arising from CETA.
Stay tuned for upcoming CETA related events and EU-Canada business development assistance and trade initiatives organized or coordinated by ICCC and ECCC in Western Canada and Europe.
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