FREDERICTON, NB – Treasury Board President Roger Melanson, who is also the minister responsible for Trade Policy, is heralding the new free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union (EU) as a deal that could bring positive economic opportunities for New Brunswick exporters.
“This is great news for our entire nation and, I feel, will help to open up new markets for New Brunswick in the years to come,” Melanson says. “While most of our trade is within North America, the free trade deal with the European Union will help open new markets for such sectors as fisheries, and perhaps the forestry industry. It’s good news.”
When the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is fully implemented, 99 per cent of EU tariff lines will be duty-free; currently only 25 per cent are duty-free for Canadian goods.
The House of Commons has now passed legislation to adopt CETA. The Senate is now studying the proposed law, with final approval expected as early as May or June.
New Brunswick’s principal merchandise exports to the EU include fish and seafood products (with an average value of $45.7 million over the last three years); forestry products ($37 million annually over the last three years); and metal and mineral products (an average of $83.7 million over the last three years).
Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet is also pleased about the future prospects of the new free trade deal.
“CETA will open up new export markets for our seafood and aquaculture sectors,” Doucet says. “Tariffs were the biggest obstacle to export growth. CETA removes that obstacle.”
For fish and seafood, almost 96 per cent of EU tariff lines will be duty-free when CETA takes effect. After seven years, 100 per cent will be duty-free, making New Brunswick’s goods more competitive in markets overseas.
In addition to product-specific benefits, Melanson says the free trade deal will help the province establish deeper connections with fellow members of the International Organization of La Francophonie.
“We’re going to be able to have an even greater presence in francophone markets overseas, including France and Belgium, enabling us to leverage our membership in the International Organization of La Francophonie,” Melanson says.