By Chris Freimond
Managing Editor, Senior Writer
We Canadians tend to be very focused on our trade with the U.S. Of course, our southern neighbour is by far our most important trading partner and probably always will be, but while writing the recent Canada Europe Trade special report (Globe and Mail June 25, 2014) it became clear to me that Europe is an equally crucial part of our economic future.
That was really brought home when Jason Langrish, executive director of the Canada Europe Roundtable for Business, pointed out in an interview that Canada’s pending Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union will make Canada the only country in the world with preferential trade and investment agreement with both the U.S. and EU, the world’s two largest marketplaces. CETA could increase bilateral trade in goods and services by 23 per cent or $38 billion and will remove more than 99 per cent of tariffs between the Canadian and EU economies. It really is a big deal in more ways than one.
I was very grateful that Jean Charest, former Quebec premier and long-time champion of CETA, was able to make the time for an interview for the report. His smart and articulate observations were all the more appreciated because he was jetting between meetings in Paris and his law office in Montreal at the time and still managed to find a few minutes to speak to me.