Skip to main content
Statement9 February 2024BrusselsDirectorate-General for Trade6 min read

Joint Statement: Sustainable economic growth in the EU and Canada through the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

Today, Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Canadian Minister for Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development Mary Ng co-chaired the fourth Joint Committee of CETA.

4th Joint Committee of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA)

Today, the Executive Vice-President (EVP) and European Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, and the Canadian Minister for Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development, the Honourable Mary Ng, co-chaired the fourth Joint Committee of the European Union-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

The Co-Chairs sent a clear message that seven years into its provisional application, CETA’s benefits to our economies are ever more evident and continue to expand. Since CETA’s provisional implementation in September 2017, two-way trade in goods has increased by more than 50%, and continues to grow steadily. CETA has provided equally important positive impacts on EU-Canada two-way trade in services and bilateral investment flows. This ever-deepening economic relationship has made the EU and Canada more resilient and has delivered benefits to businesses, small and large, and people across our communities through job creation, sustainable inclusive economic growth, and economic resiliency.

In a period of global geopolitical uncertainty, CETA’s positive performance underscores the fundamental importance of rules-based trade, underpinned by shared values and principles. CETA has enabled further diversification in key sectors and supply chains, including the energy sector and critical raw materials, specifically in the wake of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

CETA has become the foundation for the EU-Canada economic, trade and investment relationship, and contributes significantly to our cooperation, innovation, and competitiveness on the global stage.

Discussions at today’s Joint Committee emphasised our shared commitment to leveraging CETA to its full potential, ensuring that our businesses and people continue to garner its benefits. The Co-Chairs also reiterated their deep-rooted shared commitment to working together to advance WTO reform, notably to ensure a successful outcome at MC13 and uphold the core principles of the rules-based multilateral trading system.

EVP Dombrovskis and Minister Ng took stock of the work and progress made under CETA and its Committees and Dialogues and the noteworthy progress achieved on four key initiatives.

Firstly, the Co-Chairs announced agreement on an 'Interpretation on Investment'. This Interpretation clarifies elements of investment provisions under CETA, notably “fair and equitable treatment”, “indirect expropriation” and “investment and climate change”. This agreement further clarifies that the Parties can regulate in the framework of climate, energy, and health policies to achieve legitimate public objectives. The Co-Chairs confirmed that the text of the Interpretation has been approved in substance and committed to the timely final adoption through the Joint Committee by written procedure once the linguistic review of all authentic languages under CETA has been completed. The Co-Chairs agreed to publish the text of the Interpretation in their official languages for transparency and information purposes.

Secondly, the Co-Chairs announced the conclusion of negotiations at technical level on the text establishing rules to facilitate access of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to investment dispute resolution under CETA. Ultimately, these rules will enhance the ability of SMEs to participate and benefit from the opportunities created by CETA. The Co-Chairs declared their shared commitment to work expeditiously towards finalisation of all steps necessary to enable a timely adoption of these rules by the CETA Joint Committee.

Thirdly, the Co-Chairs welcomed progress towards the adoption of a CETA Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) for professional qualifications of architects, by the CETA Committee on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications. The Co-Chairs called on the Committee to work expeditiously towards its adoption. This agreement will be the first of its kind under CETA and will further demonstrate that CETA delivers tangible benefits for professionals and small businesses, as it will facilitate the process of seeking recognition for professional qualifications across the EU and Canada for our respective architects.   

Fourthly, the Co-Chairs welcomed progress regarding the extension of the operational scope of the CETA protocol on the mutual recognition of the compliance and enforcement programme regarding good manufacturing practices for pharmaceutical products (the GMP Protocol). The Co-Chairs endorsed the initiation of the process for a Joint Committee decision that will extend the scope of the GMP Protocol by including active pharmaceutical ingredients in the product scope. This would allow the mutual recognition of inspections and acceptance of official documents for active pharmaceutical ingredients, and thus reduce costs resulting from duplicative inspections. This change is expected to particularly benefit micro, small and medium-sized enterprise, and to contribute to greater pharmaceutical supply chain resilience.

As regards the ongoing work under CETA’s Committees and Dialogues, the Co-Chairs positively noted the strong engagement of the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development, and the ongoing work which reflects the strong cooperation in the areas of both labour and environment. Specifically, the Co-Chairs welcomed the work in the Committee to continue promoting the use of carbon pricing globally and to further develop bilateral engagement in the context of the implementation phase of the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms. The Co-Chairs equally recognised the TSD Committee’s potential role in contributing to the future success of the EU-Canada Green Alliance. 

The Co-Chairs noted with satisfaction the ongoing planning and implementation of cooperation activities under the recommendations on Trade and Gender, Climate Action and small and medium-sized enterprises and the Civil Society Dialogue.

The Co-Chairs noted the positive progress made on facilitating access to government procurement opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic for European and Canadian companies, particularly welcoming new digital tools recently made available for potential bidders (Canada’s single electronic point of access to procurement, CanadaBuys, and the EU’s #Access2Procurement portal).

The Co-Chairs emphasised the importance of the Regulatory Cooperation Forum and encouraged regulators on both sides to engage throughout the regulatory process as appropriate and as early as possible to seek opportunities for common or inter-operable approaches, particularly for clean and emerging technologies. These discussions can significantly contribute to the delivery of key actions, such as those agreed by Canada and the EU under the Green Alliance and the Digital Partnership.

To harness the fullest potential of CETA’s trade and investment opportunities, the Co-Chairs stressed the importance of ongoing efforts to minimise trade impediments and address outstanding market access issues.

The Co-Chairs agreed to reinforce the interlinkages between existing CETA structures and relevant EU-Canada dialogues and partnerships. It was emphasised that work undertaken under CETA underpins many cooperation activities between the EU and Canada and recognised the crucial role CETA plays in driving sustainable development, moving towards a climate-neutral economy, and ensuring economic security on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Co-Chairs discussed new areas of economic and trade cooperation for the EU and Canada. They prioritised CETA’s potential to deepen EU-Canada economic cooperation with respect to the net-zero and digital transition, economic security, and supply chain resilience, especially in the areas of (critical) raw materials and new technologies. They called on all Committees and Dialogues to strive to reflect these priorities in their work and to contribute, where applicable, to relevant areas of cooperation announced during the 2023 EU-Canada Summit, including the Green Alliance, the Digital Partnership, the economic security dialogue, and Canada’s Association to Horizon Europe.

Looking ahead, the Co-Chairs also took note of the ongoing progress towards ratification of CETA by all 27 EU Member States and encouraged further progress notably to enable the full application of CETA.

More information


Publication date
9 February 2024
Directorate-General for Trade
Country or region
  • Canada
Trade topics
  • Negotiations and agreements