Europe is a vast and diverse economic region that offers a myriad of commercial opportunities for globally engaged companies. With a population of nearly 594 million people spanning over 35 nations, Europe accounted for about a third of the world output and about 39 percent of world merchandise trade in 2009 and nearly half of the global stocks in 2009 (46.1 percent). As well, gross domestic expenditure on R&D in the EU-27 was equivalent to nearly 30 percent of all OECD’s. The Global financial crisis has had a negative impact on the European economy and the Euro zone has been over the past months facing a major crisis. Economic forecasts for the EU-27 indicate a gradual recovery in 2010 as the EU GDP growth rate is expected to reach 1.8%. European Union (EU) regulatory standards are setting the bar globally, as European manufacturers seek to become leaders in their respective areas. Some 178 of the Fortune Global 500 firms have chosen to locate their global headquarters in Europe. As such, Europe is a key player in global value chains, offering various points of entry into these networks, as well as being an important supplier of investment capital for Canadian firms. Europe’s influence also extends beyond its economic position. Four of the eight G8 members and two of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are European Union countries. There is growing consensus in Europe on foreign policy issues such as global security, terrorism and energy security—meaning that Europe will speak with an increasingly unified and prominent voice in the international sphere.
The Government of Canada has identified Europe as a Global Commerce Strategy priority market—based on extensive consultation with government, academic and Canadian business and industry representatives—and has developed a comprehensive Market Plan that identifies the following key sectors as offering clear opportunities well suited to Canadian capabilities and interests in the market:
Canada-Europe Commercial Relations, 2005-2009 ($ Millions)
The Government of Canada is working with various partners across Europe to identify opportunities to remove the remaining barriers to the flow of goods, services and capital and to enhance bilateral cooperation in areas such as science and technology, energy and the environment. Canada and the EU announced the launch of negotiations towards a comprehensive economic and trade agreement at the Canada-EU Summit held May 6, 2009 in Prague. The ambitious agreement is expected to yield significant benefits for the economies of both Canada and the EU. When fully implemented, an agreement will bring an increase in two-way goods and services exports of more than 20 percent. Also at the 2009 Summit, Canada and the European Commission signed an air safety agreement which will stimulate aeronautical industrial activity, cut costs and alleviate the administrative burden in air transport. In December 2009, Canada and the European Commission signed a comprehensive Air Transport Agreement that replaces 19 existing bilateral agreements, as well as provide traffic rights for services between Canada and eight additional EU Member States. In April 2009, legislation to implement the free trade agreement (FTA) signed by Canada and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland received Royal Assent. The Agreement came into force on July 1, 2009. In July 2010, Canada signed Foreign Investment promotion and Protection Agreements (FIPAs) with Slovakia. Canada also signed renegotiated FIPAs with Latvia, the Czech Republic and Romania in May 2009 and existing FIPAs with Hungary and Poland are being renegotiated to bring them into alignment with EU law and provide better protection for Canadian investments. The Canada-EU Roadmap for Regulatory Cooperation continues to advance voluntary, regulatory cooperation in specific sectors (e.g. chemicals and food allergen labelling). Progress in this area could be further strengthened by including provisions for regulatory cooperation in a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the EU, which would promote transparent, efficient and effective regulatory processes.
Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service continues to advance Canadian trade, investment and innovation interests across Europe. With offices in 32 cities, Canadian Trade Commissioners are actively reaching out to European business, government and trade associations to promote Canada as a “top of mind” supplier and partner for global business. To assure Canadian companies the best possible service and advice, Trade Commissioners across Europe work together across national borders.
Canada and various European countries cooperate in many international fora, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD). Canada also has a number of bilateral trade and investment policy instruments in place that are helping to facilitate and support Canadian commercial engagement across Europe:
 Unless otherwise stated, all data is for 2009 and expressed in Canadian dollars. All data based on latest available national statistics drawn from a variety of sources, including Statistics Canada, Export Development Canada, Bank of Canada, IMF WEO, UNCTAD.
 For purposes of this GCS Priority Market Overview, Europe includes Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom. Russia has been identified as a separate GCS Market Priority and has its own Market Overview. In Fast Facts: The GDP, population and GDP per capita exclude Lichtenstein and Montenegro.
 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
 OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators, 2010.
 Fortune Magazine, July 2010.
 EU only includes the countries within EU-27.
 Aerospace Industries Association of Canada.
 European Commission, Enterprise and Industry.
 Industry Canada.
Unless otherwise stated, all data is for 2009 and expressed in Canadian dollars. All data based on latest available national statistics drawn from a variety of sources, including: Statistics Canada, Export Development Canada, Bank of Canada, IMF WEO, UNCTAD
For further information, visit the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website or contact the Trade Commissioner Service at 1-888-306-9991.
* If you require a plug-in or a third-party software to view this file, please visit the alternative formats section of our help page.