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International Trade Session: Canadian companies must be more strategic when looking to export
Created on 12/5/2016 2:11:34 PM


The current volatility of international trade deals made for an engaging discussion at FCPC's International Trade Session on Monday, Nov. 21. Experts from Ensight Canada provided an overview of the Canadian trade landscape and what Canadian CPG companies can expect in the near future.

“Only five per cent of small to medium-sized enterprises are exporting and 80 per cent of those exports go to the U.S. market," said Jason Lietaer, Principal at Ensight Canada. For example, the Canada-Korean Trade Agreement proved to be extremely beneficial to the South Koreans. They exploited the benefits of the agreement and increased exports to Canada 27 per cent while Canadians sat on their hands and exports remained flat. 

(l-r) Don Newman, Senior Counsel, Adam Taylor, Director and Jason Lietaer, Principal, Ensight Canada

Adam Taylor, Director of Ensight Canada, provided an in-depth look at the details of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which he believes could come into effect by the end of the year. There are some areas that will cause major implications for Canadian CPG companies, like geographic indicators where, for example, feta that does not come from Greece will require a “feta-like” label. Other areas of the deal show promise for improving non-tariff trade barriers with commitments to increasing communication, cooperation and transparency.

"Overall CETA is a good deal for Canada, it is an ambitious 21st century agreement that makes Canada the only G7 country with preferential access to the EU," Don Newman, Senior Counsel at Ensight Canada, pointed out. However, it is imperative to do your due diligence he continued. "Think about your sector, think about what the Europeans were negotiating for, who is going to be targeting your sector and what advantages they have."

Newman predicted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is probably dead and that NAFTA is vulnerable with the election of Donald J. Trump as president. Trump will look at various options to renegotiate NAFTA and therefore Canada has to work with Mexico to convince Trump the deal is not a detriment to the U.S., he added.

To learn more about upcoming insight events, click here.