Successful Canada-EU workshop on CETA opportunities in clean technology


The virtual joint workshop, organized in an effort to explore cleantech trade and investment opportunities within the framework of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), brought together over 600 participants and welcomed more than 50 speakers 29-31 March 2021. Conversations focused on hydrogen and the circular economy, as well as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and fuel cells.

Sustainable development is a key component of the commitments made by the EU and Canada under the EU-Canada Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). The agreement came into provisional effect in September 2017 and covers trade not only in goods and services but also in investment flows and movement of people. More specifically, it allows for lower customs duties, transparent and effective investment protection, opportunities for services providers, better access to public procurement, and lower costs related to non-tariff barriers.

CETA opportunities in clean technology for EU and Canada

Furthermore, addressing climate change and contributing to an effective and sustainable green transition are currently key priorities for Canada and the EU. Both aim at being climate neutral by 2050 and have substantial emission reduction objectives by 2030. To achieve those objectives, the EU instituted its Green Deal in December 2019 and Canada launched the Canada’s strengthened climate plan to create jobs and support people, communities and the planet in December 2020. Both plans have become a path for sustainable recovery after the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19.

In this context, clean and green technologies – Cleantech – has become a key sector of collaboration between Canada and the EU. Between 2013 and 2017, Canada spent €9.03 billion ($13.7 billion) on wind energy technology, €3.96 billion ($6 billion) on solar energy technology, €0.66 billion ($1 billion) on small hydro energy technology, €0.39 billion ($0.6 billion) on biomass and waste energy technology, and €0.59 billion ($0.9 billion) on biofuels technology. On the EU’s side, and to achieve the goals set by the European Green Deal, at least €1 trillion will be mobilized in sustainable investments over the next decade. Globally speaking, the estimated size of the clean technology market is expected to range between $2.5 trillion and $6.4 trillion (USD) by 2022-2023.

European and Canadian synergies in cleantech

The Canada-EU workshop on CETA opportunities in clean technology organized fully online from 29 to 31 March 2021 responded to the need of opening spaces for synergies and collaborations to arise in a market that is now a huge opportunity for business development and investments. The event was the second edition, as the first edition took place in November 2019 in Montreal, and brought, in both cases, innovators, SMEs, industry associations and government representatives in the sector. More than 600 participants registered for this edition successfully organized by the EU Delegation to Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada with the support of Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre.

The 2021 EU-Canada workshop on CETA opportunities in cleantech

The programme ran for three days. The opening ceremony was led by the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Canada and the European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Virginijus Sinkevičius:  

“Canada and the EU have been collaborating for a long time to accomplish the ambitious measures to fight climate change and protect the environment. We recognize the emergency of accelerating the global climate measures and collaboration to be able to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement,” stated Minister Wilkinson.

“Good progressive trade and cooperation across borders are essential for a green transition that works for all. If Cleantech is a political priority in Europe it is because there is a growing recognition of the crisis we face. The solution that we propose is the European Green Deal,” stated Commissioner Sinkevičius.

The opening ceremony was followed by a panel debate about the trade and investment environmental cooperation facilitated by CETA, breakout sessions about the role of women in hydrogen, CCUS, energy, and circular economy, and an industry matchmaking session presenting innovations from Canadian and EU companies in the sector.

The second day was opened by Mr Rupert Schlegelmilch, Deputy Director General at the Americas, Agriculture and Food Safety, in DG TRADE, European Commission, and the Honourable George Chow, Minister of State for Trade of British Columbia. It was then followed by a panel debate about financing cleantech, presenting trends and opportunities framed by the CETA agreement, and a networking session portraying success stories of clean technology entrepreneurs from Canada and the EU. The programme of the day ended with an industry matchmaking session allowing EU and Canadian buyers and sellers to discuss the needs and challenges within the sector.

The third day was opened by the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. Parallel sessions were then organized for clean technology companies to discuss hydrogen, fuel cells, and CCUS on one side, and circular economy on the other. The networking sessions focussed this time on building partnerships between Canadian and EU companies, and the government matchmaking session focussed on EU and Canada programmes to support SMEs in the sector. The closing session was held by Dr. Melita Gabrič, Ambassador of the European Union to Canada, and Patricia Fuller, Canada’s Ambassador for Climate Change.

Representatives, speakers, and participants agreed on the huge business potential that the sector faces nowadays. The following needs were raised by panellists and participants throughout the days: engaging in EU-Canada and global partnerships; sharing experiences and technologies to facilitate innovation among countries, including third ones; facilitating the access and application processes for investment and funds; and being efficient in and capable of including diverse angles when innovating, to allow the different green technologies to scale.  

We are quite confident that many new partnerships between European and Canadian cleantech companies will be formed as a result of this workshop”, concluded Ambassador Gabrič at the end of the event. The EU Delegation in Canada foresees more events on cleantech opportunities for partnerships, synergies, and collaborations to continue to grow.



Consult CETA chapter by chapter

Download: ‘THE CLEAN TECHNOLOGY MARKET ENTRY GUIDE: A Practical Guide to the Canadian Clean Technology Market for European Union Companies’, DG TRADE

Watch business success cases:

Learn more about Canada’s strengthened climate plan to protect the environment, create jobs, and support communities 

Learn more about the Green Deal Investment Plan 


About the organizers

The Delegation of the European Union to Canada

Established in 1976, the European Union Delegation to Canada is a fully-fledged diplomatic mission and, as such, the natural contact point in Canada between the EU and the Canadian authorities. It also has a strong public diplomacy mandate designed to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the European Union as well as EU-Canada relations.

Website: @EUinCanada   

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Environment and Climate Change Canada informs Canadians about protecting and conserving our natural heritage, and ensuring a clean, safe and sustainable environment for present and future generations.

Website: @environmentca (EN)/ @environnementca (FR)

Supporting Organization: Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre

Foresight is Canada’s cleantech ecosystem accelerator. Foresight supports the identification and validation of cleantech opportunities and the successful commercialization of solutions.

Twitter: @ForesightCAC


Join the conversation on social media: #CanadaEUCleanTech!