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“More trade and jobs thanks to CETA, despite Covid-19”

TORONTO/ROME – Since the entry into force of Ceta, the Global Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, trade between Italy and Canada has increased by more than 22% and Italian exports of goods and services to Canada are increased by 25% with the creation of 63,000 jobs in Italy: these are some of the numbers contained in the report that the Canadian Ambassador to Italy, Alexandra Bugailiskis (in the pic, from the Italian government website), presented to the European Union Policy Commission of the Senate. Numbers that, according to the Ambassador, suggest that CETA will play a decisive role in the post-pandemic recovery and “will help make our economies stronger, greener and more sustainable”.

The speech by Ambassador Bugailiskis highlighted the important contributions that this agreement, since its provisional application in 2017, has already brought to the two economies, Italian and Canadian, by supporting trade, investment and the creation of new jobs.

“The increase in Italian exports of goods and services to Canada – said Alexandra Bugailiskis – have led Italy to be Canada’s second trading partner in the European Union after Germany and before France”, in particular in the agri-food sector on which the Ambassador reported some examples: “Italian exports of cheese to Canada increased by 47 percent (65 million euros), those of pasta by 51 percent (61 million euros) and those of canned tomatoes and tomato sauce by 65 percent (32 million euros) “. Ceta has favored the recognition by Canada of IGs (geographical indications) for agricultural and food products and this has allowed Italy to become, with 48 IGs under the agreement, the European country with the largest number of typical food products recognized by Canada.

But Ceta, which favors small and medium-sized enterprises through the elimination of customs duties and the simplification of procedures relating to the export of goods and services, has also strengthened other sectors, such as those of service providers, clean technological products such as turbines. wind turbines and rechargeable electric batteries, prefabricated building structures, energy efficient machinery, equipment for measuring pollution levels and goods in the field of information and communication technologies: a field, the latter, in which Canada and Italy, in 2020, traded goods worth more than 177 million euros.

However, adequate and widespread information on the advantages of Ceta would be lacking. “60 percent of Italian exports eligible to Canada – said the Ambassador – make use of the savings on customs duties guaranteed by CETA: this means that many Italian producers, but not all, take full advantage of the savings on customs duties in the framework CETA agreement. For Canada, the percentage is slightly higher, 69 percent. We need to improve our information-sharing work with our companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, so that they can take advantage of the tariff reduction but also of the other provisions of CETA that can help companies to take on a global dimension “.

According to Alexandra Bugailiskis, the agreement also made it possible to withstand the very severe blow inflicted on the economy by Covid-19: “During the pandemic year of 2020 – she underlined – bilateral trade in goods decreased by only 3.4 percent, a moderate contraction compared to the global impact on commercial activities during this period “. And she concluded by saying that “CETA provides the certainty, stability, protection enshrined in regulated trade, and access to larger markets that our economies need to thrive and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Watch the video of the speech in the Senate by the Canadian Ambassador to Italy

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