Industry and Trade Groups Welcome EP’s CETA Vote

17.02.2017 -

The European Parliament’s approval on Feb. 15 of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada has been welcomed by the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) as well as German chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) and the trade union IG BCE.

The EU has said that existing trade with Canada, which currently amounts to more than €60 billion per year, will be boosted by 20%.

Parliament approved CETA by 408 votes to 254, with 33 abstentions. As Canada has already ratified the agreement, CETA could be applied provisionally as early as Apr. 1 2017. Because CETA is a “mixed agreement” under EU law, it must also be ratified by national and regional parliaments.

CEFIC’s director general, Marco Mensink, said approval of the trade deal is good news for the European economy, including the chemical industry. “It will help us build on the already strong annual trade of €2.5 billion volume for our sector,” he said, adding that the provisional application of CETA would cover about 90% of the agreement and chemical duties would disappear on both sides.

For the German chemical industry association VCI, the agreement is a “clear commitment to openness and against isolation” and a major signal for free trade. VCI President Kurt Bock called on Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, to ratify CETA without delay. According to VCI data, producers in Germany exported chemicals and pharmaceuticals worth €111.5 billion in 2016.

German trade union IG BCE described CETA as the best trade deal ever concluded by Germany and the EU. The union said it was particularly good for workers given that the EU and Canada had agreed high social standards and labor unions in Canada would be strengthened as a result.