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Meeting of the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development

February 9 and 10, 2022, by videoconference

Joint report


The fourth meeting of the CETA Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) took place February 9-10, 2022 via videoconference. Canadian and EU officials used the meeting to identify issues and activities for continued cooperation, discuss matters raised during the Civil Society Forum (CSF), and provided updates on the previous work plan while discussing next steps.

Trade and Gender, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) / Responsible Business Conduct (RBC)

For the first session of the Trade and Sustainable Development Committee meeting, Canada shared various objectives on trade and gender. Canada recommended that the Parties hold more joint activities on trade and gender, noting that their joint activity on standardsFootnote 1 (March 12, 2021) was well-received. Canadian officials flagged the upcoming Canada-EU activity on promoting women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers scheduled for March. The Parties also committed to refreshing the current work plan on trade and gender under CETA. Further, Canada requested that the EU confirm a new contact point for trade and gender. Finally, Canada indicated that it would like to advocate to EU Member States to join the Global Trade and Gender Arrangement (GTAGA).  The Parties also agreed to continue to the work together at the WTO’s Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender with a view to implementing the new Ministerial Declaration on the Advancement of Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment within Trade co-sponsored by 121 WTO members for the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC 12).

On corporate social responsibility (CSR) and responsible business conduct (RBC), both Parties recognized that the relevant experts were in touch and are planning to share best practices at a meeting in the spring, once the EU’s new RBC strategy is launched.

Trade and Environment and Trade and Climate Action

During the dedicated session on trade and environment and climate action, the Parties highlighted the different topics raised during the CSF, which included energy transition, climate adaptation and greening of supply chains. The Parties also exchanged on recent developments on climate change and environment policy, agreeing to explore future cooperation in these areas. Canada and the EU also acknowledged the successful CleanTech Workshop held in March 2021 and the recent expert exchange on the impacts of trade on biodiversity held in January 2022. The Parties look forward to the delivery of the Canada-EU CleanTech Summit later in 2022. Discussions also covered a number of ongoing cooperation initiatives including on carbon pricing and border carbon adjustments, biodiversity, plastic pollution and circular economy, and chemicals management. They reaffirmed their commitment to engage and contribute to the 2022-2023 TSD Committee joint work plan.

Trade and Labour

During the trade and labour session, the Parties highlighted their priorities, including an overview of their respective technical assistance projects in third countries to promote and protect fundamental and internationally-recognized labour rights, their efforts to ratify ILO Convention 190 (Violence and Harassment, 2019), as well as their respective suite of policy and legislative initiatives to combat forced and child labour in global supply chains. Canada addressed its ban on the importation of goods produced from forced labour and Canada’s commitment, as outlined in the mandate letters of four Ministers, to introduce supply chain legislation to eradicate forced labour from supply chains. The EU reinstated their objective to tackle forced labour, mentioning that this issue as well as supply chain legislation will be primary issues for G7. The EU also highlighted important initiatives relating to labour, which included a proposal for a Directive on Pay Transparency and the improvement of working conditions for digital labour platforms workers.  The Parties committed to continue to cooperate under the CETA Labour Chapter by sharing information on developments and approaches to preferential tariff schemes, and to further coordinate efforts to address forced labour in bilateral and multilateral fora, in particular at the ILO, the OECD and the G7.

Trade and Indigenous Peoples

Canada thanked DG TRADE for its offer to help facilitate engagement among Member States in an activity on Trade and Indigenous Peoples. The activity will be held in the spring and will involve a public session so officials can hear about the successes and challenges of Indigenous businesses in Canada and in EU Members States in accessing the benefits of CETA; followed by a meeting between officials to discuss potential trade policy solutions to the challenges identified.

TSD Early Review

Regarding TSD early review, the EU announced the publication of their study on TSD enforceability on February 10th. The EU suggested the Parties re-convene on this issue in the late summer via a dedicated session, once the EU is able to analyze the implication of its study and their position is clearer. Canada re-iterated their objective to pursue the effective enforceability of provisions in the TSD chapters on environment and labour via sanctions or fines and its commitment to continue to work with the EU on this issue.

Debrief with DAGS Representatives

The event concluded with a discussion between the Parties and the domestic advisory group (DAG) chairs and vice-chairs. The DAG chairs offered constructive suggestions for future collaboration, including a request to have more informal interim discussions with the TSD co-chairs on related updates, rather than holding only annual meetings via the CSF and TSD Committee. The DAG representatives also expressed their interest in more robust civil society interaction during the CSF via the use of breakout sessions, while recognizing this may not be technically feasible when the event is held virtually. The Parties committed to publishing reports of the CSF, TSD committee and the updated TSD work plan on their respective websites.


Global Affairs Canada
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Employment and Social Development Canada
Mission of Canada to the European Union
Provincial Government Representatives

European Union
EC Directorate-General for Trade
EC Director-General for Environment
EC Directorate-General for Climate Action
EC Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Delegation of the European Union to Canada.

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