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Report: 3rd Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Joint Committee recommendation on Trade and Gender by Videoconference, Ottawa and Brussels, October 24th, 2019

Welcome and introductions

The third meeting on the CETA Joint Committee recommendation on Trade and Gender took place via videoconference in Ottawa and Brussels on October 24th, 2019. The meeting objectives were to:

1) share experiences on conducting impact assessments of trade agreements on both an ex-ante and ex-post basis,

2) exchange lessons learned, best practices, challenges and discuss next steps, and

3) discuss how to use impact assessments  in the development of gender responsive trade policy and provisions in a trade agreements.

Presentation by Georgina Wainwright-Kemdirim, Global Affairs Canada: "Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+): Canada-Mercosur FTA Negotiations"

The Canadian presentation discussed the process for conducting GBA+ on trade agreements in Canada, and presented some preliminary findings and best practices from the ex-ante GBA+ of Canada-Mercosur FTA negotiations.

Background: Canada launched its GBA+ analysis of the Canada-Mercosur FTA negotiations in August 2018. Over the fall of 2018, stakeholder comments were received and factored into a chapter-by-chapter quantitative and qualitative GBA+. A summary of the initial GBA+ was published on August 23, 2019. Global Affairs Canada (GAC) will keep updating its evergreen GBA+ text and will publish a summary GBA+ of a finalized agreement. This is the first time Canada has conducted an initial GBA+ on an ongoing trade negotiation, and Canada will be continuing this approach moving forward.  

Highlights: Quantitative analysis developed by GAC’s Office of the Chief Economist used an innovative expanded labour market economic model accounting for 8 occupational groups across 57 sectors of Canada’s economy. The analysis indicates an overall positive effect on the Canadian economy, shared by a wide range of groups including women, youth, and SMEs. Projection of increased participation of women in the economy, mainly in the service sector, with most goods-related job creation benefiting men. Qualitative analysis found opportunities to advance many new inclusive trade provisions in 15 out of 25 chapters in the FTA. Qualitative analysis allowed lead negotiators to factor in GBA+ findings into their negotiations, and brought attention to the range of potential impacts of the FTA in Canada across diverse groups.

Challenges: GBA+ challenges long held beliefs and assumptions such as trade is gender neutral. The process for changing these norms can be slow and requires coaching and outreach. Lack of adequate gender disaggregated data, including indirect employment data or consumer data by gender, poses a challenge for interpreting gendered impacts of an FTA.

Next steps: Seeking stakeholder feedback on initial GBA+ summary and targeted outreach to academics and experts; deadline December 1, 2019. GAC will integrate feedback and continue updating the evergreen GBA+ and will publish the final GBA+ summary at the conclusion of negotiations. The final GBA+ can be used to identify risks and opportunities that the FTA may not be able to address and suggest complementary policy changes that may be necessary and would be led by other government departments given the likelihood that they would have the mandate to do such work. 

Presentation by Richard James, DG Trade: “Assessing Gender Impacts of EU Trade Agreements”

The EU presentation explained the Commission’s framework for conducting impact assessments of FTAs on an ex ante and ex post basis, including how they integrate gender considerations into this work. 

Background: The European Commission conducts an analysis of potential impacts of a trade policy during the preparation stages of an agreement. This is followed by a Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) during the negotiation process, which includes an economic, social, human rights, and environmental analysis combined into an integrated assessment report; gender impacts are included in the social impact section. The SIA is conducted externally by consultants and goes into much greater detail than the Commission’s analysis.

Highlights: The EU’s ongoing negotiations of a modernized agreement with Chile, EU-Australia trade agreement, and EU-New Zealand agreement have included a dedicated section on gender impact analysis in the SIA. The EU’s SIAs take into account the potential FTA’s impacts on all parties to the agreement, and use consultants to conduct their analysis. Gender impact analysis in SIAs is based on the methodology outlined in the UNCTAD “Trade and Gender Toolbox”.

Challenges: Lack of adequate gender disaggregated data is a major limitation for the CGE model used in the SIA. This is also a challenge when conducting impact assessments in partner countries; some cases are limited by data gaps in the informal sector.

Next steps: Looking to increase the level of guidance and prescription in the gender analysis section of the SIA in order to guide policy makers. Expecting to shift to a greater number of ex-post analyses as gender data becomes available. 

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