A new poll suggests many Canadians are happy about trade deal with the European Union, and you can count Grande Prairie – Mackenzie MP Chris Warkentin amongst them. He was concerned when talks fell through last fall, but the deal was ratified this week. Warkentin says the only drawback to the delay is missed opportunities for producers in the meantime, and the loss of one of the partners.
“Things have changed somewhat with Britain excluding itself from the European Union. Obviously, that’s a significant change to the entire agreement and we’ll of course be pushing the Liberals to work on a bilateral [trade agreement] with the UK so that we can have open and better trade.”
He argues having reduced or no tariffs on exports like beef, grain, honey and forest products will open new doors for the region. The only thing standing in the way now is some differences in standards.
“Obviously there’s different regulations when it comes to the oversight of meat processing plants in Canada versus Europe. We don’t accept some of their safety precautions; they don’t accept some of our safety precautions. We have to get through some of these regulatory snags to ensure that we’re able toe export freely.”
Some of the highlights of CETA are an increase in the amount of European cheese than can be imported to Canada, lower tariffs of luxury vehicles, and cheaper wine and spirits. The cost of some new prescription drugs could go up.