On February 15, 2017 the European Parliament voted in favour of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the European Union and Canada (CETA), with 408 votes for, 254 against and 33 abstentions. According to an EU Commission press release, CETA “will create new opportunities for EU companies by boosting trade and strengthening economic relations.”

This vote was the next step after the EU and Canada signed CETA on October 30, 2016. The EU Parliament has now paved the way for CETA to enter into force provisionally, once Canada completes its ratification procedures. This could be as early as May 1, 2017.

Elimination of import duties

Besides the fact that CETA will eliminate most of the restrictions on moving across the Atlantic for temporary work, it also ensures the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, opens up the Canadian services market and encourages investment. An important aspect of CETA is the elimination of most import duties. As soon as the agreement takes effect, approximately 98% of all import duties between Canada and the EU will be eliminated, with another 1% of import duties to be phased out over a period of up to seven years.

In this respect is it important to note that in order to benefit from a 0% import duty rate, the products imported into Canada need to be of ‘EU origin’ (likewise, of Canadian origin for products imported into the EU). The EU preferential origin criteria have been included in CETA. We strongly recommend that you take these preferential origin criteria into account in order to avoid assessments and penalties at a later stage and to ensure that your company enjoys the full benefit of this.

Registered Exporter

Unlike most other Free Trade Agreements, under CETA certificates of origin will not be issued by the customs authorities and the EUR 1 form will not be accepted as proof of origin. Instead, exporters will have to issue an ‘origin declaration’ themselves. The recently introduced Registered Exporter System (REX) must therefore be used. Only those companies that are registered in the REX database may issue origin declarations.


We have specialists dedicated to international Trade & Customs, ensuring that we are well-placed to help understand local and global operating requirements and answer any questions you may have in this respect.

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