Of all the countries in the world, it has often been said that one of the most complex and time-consuming to export to is Canada. It has gained a reputation for being a headache for exporters with a fantastically long-winded list of import codes. But the new CETA arrangement looks set to change all that for EU exporters.
As of today, exporters in the UK can enjoy a near-total removal of tariffs on exports to Canada, as the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement comes into force. The UK exported more than £7 billion worth of goods and services to Canada in 2015.
The terms of the agreement mean that 98% of tariffs between the EU and Canada will be scrapped allowing easier access to the country’s market of 35 million people. So, if you’ve previously written off Canada as an export market it might be worth reassessing that decision. If you already sell to the US via Amazon, for instance, you can automatically extend that account to sell to Canada.
International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said: “CETA opens the door for UK companies to trade easily and cheaply with a valuable market in which there is considerable demand for British products, skills and expertise.
It is also an important blueprint for what our future trading relationship with Canada could look like. As an international economic department, we will help UK companies to make the most of this boost to bilateral trade and lay solid foundations for our trading ties with Canada.”
On a less bright note, with the Brexit negotiations underway it’s unclear what arrangements the UK will have with Canada (a British Dominion and fellow commonwealth member) after March 2019. However the government say it is “committed to seeking continuity in trade and investment relationships with third countries as the UK exits the EU.”
That said, seeing as this agreement is now in force, and Brexit is still a good deal more than a year away (and that deadline could likely be extended by a transition deal), this could still be a good opportunity to branch out into another (mostly) English-speaking market.