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IP/04/1524

Brussels, 21 December 2004

Boosting business between EU and Canada

Today the Canadian government and the European Commission have taken an important step to facilitate trade between the EU and Canada by developing a framework for regulatory cooperation. This voluntary framework is designed to promote a more systematic dialogue between EU and Canadian regulators during the early stages of the development of regulatory proposals for all goods. This will help eliminate regulatory barriers caused by, for example, different labelling requirements. The new working basis will not only facilitate trade and minimize trade frictions, but also result in better regulation.

The Canadian Trade Minister, James Scott Peterson and the European Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, Vice-President Günter Verheugen, welcomed the voluntary Framework as an important mechanism for further enhancing EU-Canada trade.

“The EU and Canada already enjoy a close trade relationship. But, this new form of cooperation is a smarter way of enabling our regulators to handle health, safety, environment and consumer protection issues more effectively”, said Commission Vice-President Verheugen.

"Closer cooperation between Canadian and European regulators is increasingly important for the transatlantic marketplace”, said Mr. Peterson. “This is just one of many ways that Canada is further enhancing its strong commercial relations with the EU. This Framework will also be a key element to our proposed bilateral Trade and Investment Enhancement Agreement”.

Both Peterson and Verheugen stated that they look forward to promoting use of this voluntary Framework in the pursuit of enhanced trade between the Union and Canada.

Under negotiation since 2002, the completion of the "Framework for Regulatory Cooperation" has been a priority initiative for the European Commission, Canada, and transatlantic stakeholders. The voluntary Framework was negotiated following a commitment taken by leaders at the Canada-EU Summit held in Ottawa on 19 December 2002 to intensify regulatory dialogue between EU and Canada, and work towards a new framework in this field.

The framework outlines specific cooperative steps that Canadian and European regulators are encouraged to follow in bilateral dialogues, including early and regular consultations, data and information exchanges, and sharing of foreseen regulatory approaches.

The EU is Canada's second trade partner after the US (10% of total Canadian imports and 6% of total Canadian exports), while Canada holds a stable position in the top-10 of main EU trading partners over the years remaining the 9th most important partner for the EU.

Investment has become the most significant element of the EU-Canada economic relationship. Canada is the fourth investor in the EU after the US, Switzerland and Japan (holding 4% of EU inward stock in 2002); the EU is the second investor in Canada (holding close to 25% FDI stock in Canada).

In 2003, main EU to Canada are machinery and vehicles (44%); other manufactured goods (23%), chemical products (18%) and agricultural products (7%). Main EU imports from Canada are machinery and vehicles (38%); other manufactured goods (23%) , crude materials (18%) and chemical products (8%).

Regulators of the European Commission and Canada are now identifying initial projects to be pursued under the framework.


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