The UK has formally ratified the EU-Canada Comprehensive, Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which will help boost Scottish exports, while giving customers greater choice and lower prices.
CETA is one of the most extensive EU free trade agreements to date and will remove 98% of export duties currently in place.
This is welcome news for Scotland, which is one of the UK’s top exporting regions to Canada, with trade in the North East of Scotland worth over £222 million in 2017.
The agreement which has been provisionally applied since September 2017, has been welcomed by Scotch whisky and spirit exporters and will be of similar benefit to breweries and suppliers across Scotland who are rapidly expanding their business with Canada. Since 2012 there has been a 91% increase in Scotch whisky exports to Canada through Scottish ports.
The new free trade agreement will ensure fewer internal trading restrictions for the Scotch Whisky industry and will help level the playing field for intellectual property rights for EU products in Canada.
CETA will also remove significant trading barriers for the wider food and drink industry and will bring a much-needed boost to SME’s across the region.
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:
“CETA is one of the most ambitious free trade agreements and British businesses and consumers are already feeling the benefits since the agreement came provisionally into force last year.
“The agreement eliminates almost every tariff on goods traded between our two countries and we will transition it into UK law after we leave the European Union so that businesses can continue to enjoy as free and frictionless trade as possible.
“Scotland plays a crucial role in our trade with Canada, with over £360 million of trade between our two countries going through Scottish ports last year, and there is great potential for this to increase even further.”
Director of International Affairs at the Scotch Whisky Association, Sarah Dickson said:
“Open markets matter to the Scotch Whisky industry. We hope the CETA committee will remove barriers to trade that will help to promote fair competition and further boost our exports to Canada, which grew 13% in 2017 to over £83m.
“If the deal continues to apply to the UK it should be good for the entire UK economy and export success stories like Scotch Whisky, which supports over 40,000 jobs across the UK and accounts for 20% of all UK food and drink exports.”
UK and Canadian Prime Ministers have both committed to seeking to seamlessly transition CETA into a bilateral deal, allowing frictionless trade after the UK leaves the European Union.