CETA Committee Debate Has Consequences for Insurance Industry

Published: August 30, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) seems to be going through legal processes and could even be scrapped. While CETA is an all-encompassing freeing of trade relations between the EU and Canada, it was potentially important for the insurance industry.

Canadian providers may have been placed in a more competitive industry as more European companies could have opened in the country. Of course, Canada is already home to some European-based insurance companies, RSA Canada and Aviva Canada being the most notable.

However, CETA is now up in the air because the European Union has decided to push the trade agreement to a committee to seek approval. The CETA agreement would see 9,000 existing tariffs on trade items lifted. This would include no tariff fees on agricultural and industrial items. The agreement will also make Canadian industries more competitive in financial sectors like banking and insurance.

The Union and Canada have been negotiating the CETA deal since 2009, but pushing it to another committee could mean it is close to being shut down. However, it could also be the final step to the agreement finally being signed. This is possible considering the European Union has said it wants the agreement to be closed by October.

Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström chose to submit the deal for approval to over 30 national and regional parliaments from the EU. He says the decision is bigger than the parliament and needs to be further debated.

While Europe has not said it, the decision for the UK to leave the EU (Brexit) must have impacted the finer details of CETA. The UK was a main force in pushing through the agreement with Canada, but the EU now sees the UK as a country looking for the way out. It is unlikely the UK’s influence will count for much.

If CETA collapses or even if its move forward, the UK is likely to maintain a strong position with Canada. The country is Canada’s biggest trading partner in Europe and that will likely continue. Canada’s national statistics agency says the UK traded over $25 billion in Canada last year, far more than any other EU nation.