EU-Canada Economic and Trade Agreement comes into force
On 21 September 2017 the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union and Canada entered into force provisionally. It is one of the most ambitious EU free trade agreements that will open the Canadian market with its population of 35 million to Lithuanian exporters.
Upon the provisional enforcement of the Agreement, 98 per cent of Canadian import duties will be removed. The Agreement is intends to extensively open the Canadian public procurement and service markets.
“Canada is Lithuania’s strategic partner; therefore we appreciate an opportunity to deepen our relations in an economic field, too. Lithuanian companies willing to expand their exports to Canada on more favourable conditions will benefit from a considerable improvement of trade environment. The Lithuanian economy is particularly open and dependent on export. About 230,000 jobs in Lithuania rely on trade outside the EU. That is why Lithuania is keen on new markets being opened,” Vice-Minister Zananavičius noted.
Textiles, electronic and optical products, furniture, food, and beverages are the most promising sectors of export to Canada. It is for those sectors that the Agreement stipulates particularly significant improvements of trade conditions, i.e. exports of the majority of processed food products currently bearing 10-25 per cent of import duty will be duty-free.
Lithuanian exports to Canada amounted to EUR 62 million in 2016. There are about 150 Lithuanian companies exporting mineral fuel, fertilisers, furniture, mechanical equipment, fishing nets, sports equipment, and textile goods to Canada now.
The Agreement also provides public health, food safety, consumer and employment protection, and other standards. The EU standards will continue to apply; in case Canadian products do not comply with the EU standards, they cannot enter the EU market.
After seven years of talks, on 30 October 2016, the European Union and Canada signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement to be provisionally applied on 21 September 2017. In order for CETA to be fully enforced, it must be ratified by the National Parliaments of the EU states.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Linas Linkevičius, attended the Foreign Affairs Council of 17 July 2017 to take part in a debate on the EU Global Strategy on foreign and security policy, on North Korea, Libya, and migration.
On 1 July, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius congratulated Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the country.
The EU Foreign Affairs Council met in Luxembourg on 19 June 2017 to discuss the EU Global Strategy, EU-NATO cooperation, migration, Iraq, and counter-terrorism. The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry was represented by Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Darius Skusevičius.
Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Darius Skusevičius, attended the ministerial meeting of EU Member States and Eastern Partners on 19 June where discussions centred on the preparation for the Eastern Partnership Summit to be held in Brussels in November. Ministers of foreign affairs from EU Member States and Eastern Partnership countries discussed the achievements of the Eastern Partnership and agreed on short-term goals in developing relations between the EU and its partners in the east.
Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius attended the informal meeting of EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Gymnich) in the Maltese capital Valletta on 28 April 2017. The Ministers discussed developments in Turkey, challenges in the international order of rules, and implementation of the EU Global Strategy on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
On January 23-24, the Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Albinas Zananavičius attended the informal meeting of the European Union General Affairs Council held in Valletta, Malta. During the meeting, the priorities of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2017 were presented and the discussion of the ministers about the future of the EU in preparations to the meetings of the EU heads of state and government on February 3 in Malta and on March 25 in Rome was held.