CETA is by far Canada’s most comprehensive free trade agreement, offering Canadian business practically unrestricted access to world’s largest single market with almost 500 million consumers with high purchasing power. Starting from September 2017, provisional application commenced, conferring most advantages right away, while some will become available gradually or subject to ratification of the agreement in EU Member States.

CETA Benefits – title

CETA Benefits

Tariff Elimination for Trade in Goods: the most visible benefit of CETA is the agreement to reduce and ultimately eliminate virtually all tariffs. Before, only 25 percent of EU tariff lines on Canadian goods were duty-free. Upon the entry into force, 98 percent of EU tariff lines became duty-free for Canadian-origin goods, and an additional one percent will be eliminated over a three, five or seven-year phase out period. The main sectors benefitting from CETA include the following:

Broad Services Trade Liberalization

CETA adopts a “negative list” approach to liberalization of services. All service sectors benefit from non-discriminatory treatment and market access, except for those expressly excluded in a list of reservations. Among the key services that are excluded are health care, public education and other social services.

Oil and Gas Sector

Canadian oil and gas products became tariff-free and quota-free (previous EU tariff up to 8%). This confers a significant advantage over competing exports from countries such as Russia.

Automotive Sector

EU tariffs have been eliminated on all Canadian auto parts (previous EU tariff up to 4.5%) and on some vehicles such as road tractors and fire-fighting vehicles. Tariffs on all remaining types of vehicles will be phased out over the following seven years. CETA allows Canada to export up to 100,000 vehicles annually to the EU under more liberal rules of origin.

Fish and Seafood

Approximately 96% of Canadian goods are tariff free since implementation and the remainder will be tariff free over the next three to seven years. Tariffs averaged 11% and ranged up to 25%. This, again, confers a significant advantage to Canadian exports of these products over competing exports from the U.S. and China.

Forest Products and Metal Products

All Canadian products are free from tariffs previously ranging up to 10%. This confers a significant advantage to Canadian exports into the EU over competing exports from the U.S. and China.

Agricultural Sector

EU tariffs on products like maple syrup, frozen potato products, cooking oils, processed pulses and grains, and baked goods have been eliminated immediately upon coming into effect. Other products, like grains and starches, will become duty-free in seven years. Sensitive products such as pork and beef will be duty-free but quota-limited. Canadian tariffs have also be significantly liberalized, with 93.6% of agricultural tariff lines set at 0% immediately on entry into force, subject to notable exclusions for supply-managed products such as poultry and eggs.

CETA provides for enhanced market access commitments for Canadian financial services firms in the EU, which should benefit Canada’s globally competitive financial services firms. It also provides certain protections for financial investors and a special dispute resolution framework. Investors in the financial sector will now have recourse for breach of investor treatment obligations in addition to expropriation and limits on transfers if these provisions are approved in the parliaments of the EU member countries. Like other financial services trade agreements, CETA preserves the broad discretion of financial regulators to take measures to promote financial stability and maintain the integrity of their financial systems. However, prudential guidelines set out a process and principles clarifying application of the prudential carve-out.

Labour Mobility: CETA’s temporary entry provisions will facilitate temporary travel or relocation for selected categories of business persons, including short-term business visitors, investors, intra-company transferees, and professionals and technologists. CETA’s labour mobility provisions will not open up permanent employment opportunities in Canada or the EU.

Investment Protection: Canada and the EU are major investors in each other, with Canadian investment in the EU totalling $210 billion in 2015 and EU investment in Canada totalling $242 billion. CETA includes standard guarantees prohibiting expropriation without “prompt, adequate and effective” compensation, and requires investors from each of the parties to be treated in a fair and equitable manner. CETA will ensure investors are accorded both “national treatment” and “most-favoured-nation treatment,” meaning that investors cannot be treated in a less advantageous manner than domestic investors or investors of any other country. However, governments may act in the public interest when regulating health, safety and the environment and this will not be considered contrary to the investment provisions.

Investment Arbitration Court System: The investment provisions also include access to an investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”) mechanism enabling foreign investors to enforce their rights against the host state of the investment in an independent international arbitration proceeding. The ad hoc arbitration system that was part of the draft ISDS mechanism was replaced in February 2016 with a permanent and institutionalized investment arbitration court system.

The coming into effect of the investment protection provisions and the ISDS will depend on approval by the parliaments of each of the EU members, unlike the other provisions of CETA which will be implemented provisionally once the EP provides its approval.

Labour Mobility: CETA’s temporary entry provisions will facilitate temporary travel or relocation for selected categories of business persons, including short-term business visitors, investors, intra-company transferees, and professionals and technologists. CETA’s labour mobility provisions will not open up permanent employment opportunities in Canada or the EU.

Why EU – title

Why EU

  • World’s second largest economy, accounting for more than 20% of world’s GDP (nominal terms) – Canada’s second biggest trading partner after the US
  • Current trade with the EU accounts for 10% of Canada’s external trade reaching almost CAD 90 billion a year.
  • 500 million consumers, with high purchasing power
  • Stable, largely harmonized legislation with reliable IP protection
  • Stable financial system
  • System of favourable investment incentives with harmonised investment aid limits of 15 to 50% of capex, depending on local GDP figures, heavily focused on innovation, with additional R&D support

Why Poland as gateway to the EU? – title

Why Poland as gateway to the EU?

  • 8th largest economy in the EU, with central location in Europe, with good road and rail connections, modern seaport facilities, ideal for supply hub
  • Large, greatly educated labour pool with EU’s strongest foreign language skills at competitive pricing
  • With freedom of movement and services, businesses are free to choose the most cost-effective location within EU – Poland offers competitive pricing of real estate and infrastructure
  • According to Bloomberg Rankings 2013 Poland is the best CEE country for business. In FDI Intelligence Report Poland took 3rd place worldwide, behind China and the USA, as the best quality location for manufacturing projects
  • Proven location for Canadian businesses such as Bombardier, Circle K, RathDowney, Pratt&Whitney, Apotex and many others
  • 40 million-strong local consumer base
  • Favourable business taxation with 19% corporate income tax rate
  • Relatively higher investment support compared to other locations in Europe, offering a mix of grants and tax reliefs
  • Strong innovation and R&D support ecosystem, comprising EU-funded and governmental grants, tax reliefs and government-backed VC industry, focused particularly on “import” of innovation and fostering R&D works carried out locally based on foreign IP

How does EU Box work?

How does EU Box work?

EU Box – the comprehensive package of services created by Osler and SSW Pragmatic Solutions which enables the entry to and business development on the EU market through leveraging the opportunities available under the provisional application mechanism for CETA. We offer support at each stage of launching, development and operation of business activity in EU. Through our EU Partner – SSW Pragmatic Solution and a network of partners, we offer you mapping out the most favourable location within the EU for your business needs and support from the planning stage, through incorporation up to launching actual business activity.

How can we help you?

How can we help you?

We offer practical knowledge and direct support which allows you to start operations in the EU while keeping costs under control. EU Box is a package of knowledge and services that will safely lead you through the process of entering a new market. We offer support at each stage of launching, development and operation of business activity in the EU.


Knowledge base

Available forms of incorporation in EU

Description of EU taxation system

Fundamentals of labor law

Principles for the application of facilitations introduced under CETA

Service package

Audit of business needs

Preliminary identification of the customs treatment taking into account CETA

Assessment of legal/regulatory conditions for the access of a product/service to the market

Choice of legal form suitable for the specific circumstances

Formation of relevant entities in the EU together with the organisation of a temporary place of business

Identification of available investment incentives

Tax registration and tax-effective structuring

Assistance in procuring accounting services

Creators of Canada Box

Creators of Canada Box

Osler is a leading law firm with a singular focus – your business. From Toronto, Montréal, Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver and New York, we advise our Canadian, U.S. and international clients on an array of domestic and cross-border legal issues. The firm has significant experience advising clients in all market segments and in various stages of their growth on their entrance into the Canadian market as well as their strategic investments in Canadian entities. Osler was awarded the 2016 Corporate Firm of the Year by Chambers, recognizing the success of our collaborative “one firm” approach that draws on the expertise of over 400 lawyers to provide responsive, proactive and practical legal solutions driven by your business needs. For over 150 years, we’ve built a reputation for solving problems, removing obstacles, and providing the answers you need, when you need them. It’s law that works.

SSW Pragmatic Solutions combines knowledge, experience and professionalism. Our team, comprising over 100 experts, utilizes its passion and diversity to adopt a creative, proactive approach to our clients’ needs. We propose pragmatic, innovative and complex solutions to problems concerning the law, taxes, finances and new technologies. We are ahead of the curve regarding the latest trends, so our solutions are designed to meet our clients’ needs both now and in the foreseeable future.
International rankings, such as Legal 500, Chambers Europe or IFLR 1000, based exclusively on Clients’ opinions all confirm our competencies and expertise.

Our Team


Partner, International Trade and Investment Law, Osler
M: +1 416.862.6569

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