EU’s trade deal, long on time, short on money.

Graham Charles Lear
3 min readOct 13, 2019


What can the UK learn from Canada’s awful experience with the EU?

A 12 mth review. How has the much-vaunted EU-Canada trade deal worked out for Canada?

How little a 15-year EU trade negotiation has benefited a Commonwealth cousin.

On 21 September 2017, 15 years of negotiations between the EU Commission and Canada finally resulted in the provisional entry into force of CETA — the “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement”.

Even after 15 years of negotiations by the EU Commission, this deal still has not been ratified by the EU’s member states. Despite this, it was ‘provisionally implemented’ a year ago, so let us al look at the benefits it has brought to Canada in the last 12 months.

Lessons the UK can learn from Canada’s disastrous experience of the EU

Negotiating trade deals is the exclusive ‘competence’ of the EU Commission

Membership of the EU’s Customs Union (CU) means the UK can’t negotiate on its own behalf

Boris Johnson’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement keeps the UK in the CU for years of the Transition Period

How long did CETA take?

2004. Ottawa, a deal framework was agreed, negotiations started

2009. Prague, negotiations were rebranded as CETA trade deal

2014. Toronto, a signed ‘in principle’ agreement was presented

2016. Brussels, the deal is vetoed by Belgian region of Wallonia

2017. Brussels, deal is finally signed and provisionally applied

2019. The deal is still not yet fully ratified by the EU

How has the EU’s deal worked out for Canada?

Canada’s exports to the EU have barely moved in the last 12 months since the EU trade deal was provisionally implemented — to great fanfare from the EU — a year ago.

And how has the EU’s deal worked out for the UK?

Sadly, the Canadian Statistics office shows that the UK’s exports to Canada have dropped by -1.6% since the EU provisionally implemented its CETA trade deal with Canada. $8,057 million in the last 12 months, compared to $8,184 million in the 12 months before.

In the last 12 months of the EU-Canada trade deal alone (from Sep 2018), the UK’s monthly exports have dropped by -32%.

When the UK leaves the EU, CETA is worth virtually nothing to Canada

In 2018 Canadians sold goods worth $46.8 billion of goods to the EU. A great result. The problem is that $17.9 billion (38%) of that was actually sold to the UK.

When the UK is no longer part of the EU, Canada’s Free Trade Agreement with the EU will suddenly be worth a whole lot less. Currently, that means just 62% of Canada’s total exports in 2018 to the EU. And Canada’s exports to the EU have barely increased.

NOTE: All data comes from Statistics Canada — the Canadian government’s official statistics agency.
All figures are expressed in Canadian dollars.

It gets worse for Canada

Looking at Canada’s increase in exports to the EU last year, they grew by just 2.3% — virtually static after allowing for inflation.

This trade deal, conducted by the EU Commission, has taken 15 years so far

In all conscience, can any Remainer say that this has been anything other than an unmitigated disaster? And yet the EU Commission continues to trumpet its achievement.

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said, “The EU-Canada trade agreement has now been in action for a year and I’m pleased with the progress made so far.”

“I’m happy to say that our partnership with Canada is stronger than ever — strategically as well as economically. Together, we are standing up for an open and rules-based international trading order. CETA is a clear demonstration of that.”

The PM’s proposed new Withdrawal Agreement does not cover trade

I continue to believe that many British voters do not appreciate that the ‘deal’ with the EU, which is currently being negotiated in Brussels, is, in fact, another EU Treaty.

It specifically is not a trade deal. Not only that but it includes a Transition Period, during which the UK will remain in the Customs Union and Single Market for years.

Perhaps if the Canadian experience is anything to go by, we should all be happy that trade is not on the agenda.

Much better off out of this dysfunctional institution.

[ Sources: Statistics Canada (an official agency of Canadian govt) | EU Commission ]



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.