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Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

Volume 641: debated on Monday 21 May 2018

My Department has today laid the European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Canada Trade Agreement) Order 2017 to designate the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement as a treaty in accordance with the European Communities Act 1972.

The European Union and Canada have concluded negotiation and signature of this agreement, which was provisionally applied on 21 September 2017 and requires ratification by the EU member states to come fully into effect.

We have laid this order which will be followed shortly by the laying of the text of the agreement as a Command Paper under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act for scrutiny. This is, in effect, the start of the formal process of ratification of the agreement in the UK.

This agreement will boost the economies of the UK, Canada, and the EU, promoting bilateral trade and economic growth. It removed 98.2% of Canadian tariff lines with provisional application on 21 September 2017. This will rise to almost 99% over the next seven years. The agreement also reduces non-tariff measures that businesses face when trading goods and services and when investing in Canada.

The Government remain committed to supporting the EU’s ambitious trade agenda including the free trade agreements it is putting in place. We see UK ratification of CETA, while the UK is still an EU member state, as a sound demonstration of this commitment.

The Government have been clear that they will seek to ensure continuity in their existing EU trade agreements and other preferential arrangements as we leave the EU, including CETA. The Prime Minister and the Canadian Prime Minister have confirmed that both countries remain committed to a seamless transition of the trade preferences between the UK and Canada brought into effect with this agreement.

We have also laid before the House an explanatory memorandum to this order. This explains the background and rationale of the agreement and ratification. At the same time, we are publishing our economic impact assessment of this agreement and the external study on which it is based. Copies of these documents are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.