Report CETA trade and gender workshop
April 1, 2019
- On April 1, 2019, the Mission of Canada to the EU and the European Commission co-hosted a CETA Trade and Gender Workshop, as a follow-up to the CETA Joint Committee Recommendation on Trade and Gender adopted on September 26, 2018. There was significant interest in the event, which was at full capacity with over 80 participants from business, civil society, EU Member States and international organisations.
- Among the panelists were Canadian and European businesswomen and association representatives, Commissioner Malmström’s Head of Cabinet Maria Asenius, and Canadian Ambassador to the EU Dan Costello.
- The Government of Canada and the European Union will continue to work together on trade and gender issues, and implement further activities under the workplan developed to implement the CETA Trade and Gender recommendation.
- The business and policy panels covered the importance of trade promotion activities under CETA, and the need to address structural and implicit biases with tools such as Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and sustainability impact assessments in order to create a policy environment that advances inclusivity and supports women in trade.
The value of trade promotion activities
- Women-led businesses may have specific needs. They are more often SMEs and/or services-based, have fewer resources, and require more support to be export-ready.
- Trade missions, such as the Business Women’s Trade Mission to Germany and the UK led by Global Affairs Canada in November 2018, are key to helping women take advantage of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) such as CETA.
- Enabling women to join women’s business networks as well as sector-based networks, connecting those networks across borders, and integrating them into the broader ecosystem lead to valuable exchanges and partnerships, and help create soft-landings for exporters abroad.
- Governments can help by developing programmes to facilitate matchmaking women-owned businesses, and simplifying the processes required to utilise trade agreements. Meanwhile, funding program criteria should take into account the different characteristics of women’s businesses and modify eligibility criteria for funding accordingly.
An inclusive policy environment that supports women
- The gender dimension needs to be institutionalised in trade policy, such as through the CETA trade and gender recommendation.
- There was also a recognition that not all the solutions can be found in the trade policy. Domestic flanking policies (e.g. childcare, parental leave, education and skills) continue to be important to empower women.
- Development of methodologies to analyse gender disaggregated data and conduct gender based analysis plus (GBA+) of trade effects and opportunities on gender are important moving forward. One issue to address is the lack of standardized criteria for what constitutes a “women-led business”.
- There needs to be concerted efforts to increase diversity on standards-setting boards and in consultation groups in order to address standards that discriminate against women. Women entrepreneurs and women-led businesses have different needs and operate in different contexts and we are still at the beginning of tracking and understanding the data and its implications.
- Targets for women in leadership roles and supplier diversity programmes can address the structural and implicit biases that reduce the equal participation of women in trade.
The Government of Canada and the European Union continue to work together on trade and gender issues. This event is one activity under the CETA Trade and Gender Recommendation work plan.
The Government of Canada and the European Commission will reflect on the ideas for some follow-up actions, such as:
- Holding the CETA trade and gender conference
- Integrating women’s business associations in existing consultation mechanisms under CETA such as the Civil Society Forum
- Developing mentoring program for women exporters
- Identifying data that is already collected by business associations
- Exchanging experiences on trade missions for women-led businesses
Program CETA trade and gender workshop
April 1, 2019
09:30 Welcome Remarks: Dan Costello, Ambassador of Canada to the EU
09:45 One-on-one interview: Maria Asenius, Head of Cabinet, Commissioner Malmstrom
Q&A with Ms Asenius and Ambassador Costello
10:05 Business Workshop: interactive session to exchange experience from women-led businesses under CETA. What are the opportunities and challenges? Are they specific to women-led businesses? What can the private sector do to increase participation? What support is needed from the governments?
- Ruth Bastedo, Principal, Bastedo Strategy and Communications Inc.
- Susan Baka, Organization of Women in International Trade
- Celine Bak, Founder and President, Analytica Advisors
- Penelope Naas, Vice-President and District Manager for International Public Affairs
- Eleonora Catella, BusinessEurope
11:15 Policy Workshop: interactive session to discuss what governments can do for women entrepreneurs and workers to take more advantage of the export opportunities through CETA? What information and data is lacking to take more targeted actions? What are possible sources of such data?
- Ruth Vachon, President, Réseau des femmes d’affaires du Québec
- Liva Andersone, Policy Officer, Trade and Sustainable Development, Generalized System of Preferences, DG Trade
- Birgit Arens, Senior Project Officer, Eurochambres
- André-François Giroux, Director, Trade Agreements Secretariat, Global Affairs Canada
- Josie Mousseau, Deputy Director, Missions Consultations and Outreach, Global Affairs Canada
12:25 Summary and closing remarks: Stéphane Lambert, Program Manager and Counsellor, Mission of Canada to the EU
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