Canada-European Union trade agreement benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises
Expanding into new foreign markets can be challenging, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Canada and the EU recognize the importance of SMEs in the creation of high-quality jobs and in advancing inclusive economic growth. They are committed to helping SMEs better participate in international trade and regional supply chains by breaking down barriers.
Benefits for SMEs
SMEs represent over 99% of Canadian businesses and almost 90% of all private-sector jobs in Canada. They form the backbone of the Canadian economy and are integral to economic prosperity across the country. As of 2017, nearly 12% of SMEs exported goods and services and accounted for 42% of the total value of Canadian exported goods. Trade agreements, such as the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), can help SMEs expand their businesses and take advantage of new opportunities in markets abroad.
CETA benefits SMEs in Canada and in the EU. It enhances their ability to participate in and benefit from the opportunities created by the agreement and international trade by:
- creating advantageous conditions for SMEs by eliminating tariffs on 98% of current Canadian exports to the EU and providing enhanced access for service providers
- making trade more predictable, transparent and accessible by offering a single set of high-standard rules for trade across the EU
- addressing key challenges and barriers to doing business in the global marketplace, such as technical barriers to trade, that disproportionately affect SMEs
- enhancing market access for Canada’s services industries and providing a comprehensive set of investment protection measures backed by a robust mechanism for resolving investment disputes
- lowering the costs of participating in international trade, including by establishing new rules that address potential barriers to digital trade and protect the free flow of data across borders
- simplifying procedures for clearing goods through customs, including by making specific commitments to enhance transparency and make information available online for SMEs
- promoting fair business practices and creating a level playing field with enforceable rules on state-owned enterprises
Tools and Resources for SMEs
- The Government of Canada is working with partners to help SMEs take advantage of CETA and Canada’s other trade agreements. Contact a trade commissioner today to get started on accessing opportunities in the EU or for information on trade-focused events and information sessions, including on CETA, in locations across Canada.
- Many exporters seek external financing to support their ability to access international markets. There are a number of solutions available to help you market and sell abroad or help boost your working capital and reduce financial risks.
- If you are employed by or own a small or medium-sized business (one that has fewer than 500 full-time employees), the CanExport program could provide direct financial assistance to help you develop new export opportunities and markets.
- Learn more about CETA outcomes through our chapter summaries and consult the Final text of the Agreement (2016).
- Want to import a commercial good into Canada? View the applicable tariff rate and market access information searchable by tariff classification number.
Additional resources for SMEs
- Grow your business (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada)
- Tariffs, sanctions and export controls (Trade Commissioner Service)
- Canada tariff finder (Business Development Bank of Canada, Export Development Canada, and Global Affairs Canada)
- Customs Tariff (Canada Border Services Agency)
- Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting (Trade Commissioner Service)
- The basics of exporting: a step-by-step guide (Export Development Canada)
- Exporting goods from Canada: A handy guide (Canada Border Services Agency)
- Export: Are you ready to go global? (Business Development Bank of Canada)
- Step-by-Step Guide to Importing Commercial Goods into Canada (Canada Border Services Agency)
- Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) (The Conference Board of Canada)
- Importing (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada)
- International trade and investment (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada)
- Canada’s Inclusive Approach to Trade (Trade Commissioner Service)
- Investing abroad (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada)
- Agri-food trade services for exporters (Agriculture and Agri-food Canada)
- Buyandsell.gc.ca (Government of Canada procurement information service operated by Public Works and Government Services Canada)
- Ted – tenders electronic daily (Online version of the Supplement to the Official Journal of the EU)
- EU CETA website
- EU tools for SMEs
- Exporting to the EU - A Guide for Canadian business
- The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation
- Six Steps to CE Marking
- European Union Government Procurement Guide for Canadian Businesses (PDF)
- Canada-EU Relations: an Overview
- Your guide to the EU market's import rules and taxes
How can Canada help you succeed?
A number of tools and resources are waiting for you.
Contact trade commissioners
Canadian trade commissioners are located in more than 160 cities worldwide, and can provide you with key business insights and access to an unbeatable network of international contacts.
Invest in Canada
Canada’s business-friendly environment is built on world-class cities that consistently rank as the best places to live, work and play.
Business women in international trade
Networking opportunities, events and activities for women doing business across borders.
Participate in a trade mission
Information on Canada's trade missions and other international trade events for Canadian exporters.
Get funding and support for exporting into new markets
Get financial support, access co-development opportunities and pursue opportunities in new markets.
Canada Tariff Finder
Search for your product by keyword or harmonized system (HS) code. Find out what tariff rate you could claim when exporting to markets with which Canada has a free trade agreement.
There has never been a better time to diversify.”
CETA market information
Discover the EU market and find the relevant market analysis and contact information to start trading in the EU.
The EU’s markets
Learn more about the dynamic markets that make up the EU and the unique qualities of the world’s most integrated economy.
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