Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today said that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada was essential for increasing market access and investment opportunities for Irish businesses.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Dublin today, Ibec CEO Danny McCoy stated: "To date, Ireland has benefitted greatly from trade relations with Canada. Canada is our seventh largest trading partner outside of the EU, with more than 600 Irish companies exporting approximately €1.3 billion worth of goods to Canada each year. Our shared democratic traditions and strong cultural affinities make Irish and Canadian companies natural business partners. Canada is already home to some 70 Irish companies working across a diverse range of sectors and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada will give rise to a more coherent regulatory regime as well as increased market access opportunities for these companies. For example, the Irish spirits exporters will benefit from the removal of taxes and levies on their products entering the Canadian market, and the pharmaceutical sector will benefit from greatly improved Intellectual Property protection.
"By reducing trade barriers and customs costs, CETA will make it easier for businesses, particularly small firms, to expand existing operations and it will open the door for more Irish businesses wishing to get a foothold in the Canadian market. Once the Agreement is in place, it will also become easier for Irish people looking to gain work experience abroad to apply to work in Canada in the short term.
"Ibec has worked with strategic business partners at both a domestic and EU level throughout the CETA negotiation process and we are fully supportive of it's implementation. The Agreement will remove 99.6% of all industrial tariffs, with the exception of the automotive and machinery sectors. Within the agri-food sector alone, 90.9% of tariffs will be removed immediately, including for beef and cereals.
"There is a lot of global uncertainty at present for Irish businesses in the wake of our closest trading partner exiting the EU, as well as competitive threats from further afield. CETA provides a competitive advantage to Irish business through access to the stable and affluent Canadian market. Ireland, soon to be the only English speaking country left in the EU, acts as a gateway to the European market for Canadian business and our common law legal system will mean a smooth regulatory transition to the CETA once it is partially applied later this year. Ibec fully supports this robust trade policy that will encourage further investment in the Irish economy."