The EU and Canada are currently engaged in negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The last round of negotiations took place in Ottawa in October 2011. No further full rounds of negotiations are scheduled but the negotiations will continue in smaller, more specific groups to discuss dedicated topics.
The EU is Canada's second most important trading partner, after the United States, with around 12% of Canada's total external trade. Canada represents the EU's 11th most important trading partner, accounting for 1.8% of the EU's total external trade in 2011.
The value of bilateral trade in goods rose to €60.2 billion in 2011, with high value-added products such as machinery, transport equipment and chemicals making up 45% of the EU's exports of goods to Canada and 33% of its imports of goods from Canada. Trade in services, particularly travel and transportation, is an important area of the trade relationship, with bilateral trade valued at €23.5 billion in 2011. Investment, too, is a strong feature, with the EU ranking as the second largest investor in Canada and Canada as the fourth largest investor in the EU (2009).
In 1976, Canada and the EU signed the Framework Agreement for Commercial and Economic Co-operation. It is worth noting that this type of agreement was the first concluded between the EU and an industrialized country. For nearly 40 years, the Agreement has provided the foundation for the management and development of the EU-Canada relationship in an increasing number of fields, including trade.
It is under the auspices of the 1976 Framework Agreement (article IV) that senior European Commission and Canadian Federal Government officials meet once a year in the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) to review the full range of issues relating to EU-Canada economic and trade relations. Such meetings take place in the presence of representatives of the Canadian provinces and of EU Member States.
Under the JCC, the Trade and Investment Sub-Committee (TISC) was established to review various EU-Canada bilateral agreements and initiatives and to settle market access issues existing between them. The TISC meets twice a year.
A number of bilateral agreements designed to facilitate closer trade have been signed over the years. These include:
- Agreement between the European Communities and the government of Canada regarding the application of their competition laws;
- Agreement between Canada and the European Community on customs cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters;
- Agreement on mutual recognition between the European Community and Canada
- Agreement on sanitary measures to protect public and animal health in respect of trade in live animals and animal products
- Agreement between the European Community and Canada on trade in wine and spirits