Over 15 years for the EU to do a trade deal with Canada, and Canadians are asking if it was worth it.

Graham Charles Lear
3 min readFeb 20, 2020

A row has broken out between the EU and the UK over the demands being imposed from Brussels on the framework for a trade deal to apply between the UK and the 27 EU countries after 31 Dec 2020. The EU’s trade deal with Canada is at the centre of this row.

I decided to take a look the much-discussed ‘CETA’ (the EU-Canada free trade agreement) to see how much it has benefited either side since it was introduced after 15 years of wrangling and dithering by the EU.

The results of the research

The Canadian Government and WTO statistics are shocking

IMPORTANT BACKGROUND. The bulk of Canada’s exports go to the US — something the Canadian Government is keen to change. As a result, the Government and its official statistics agency report much of its output in terms of ‘US’ and ‘non-US’. I have followed their methodology as it makes sense for comparison purposes.

Is this Canadian trade deal a goose with a rotten egg?

In 2018, Canada’s good exports to the world grew by 6.5%

Excluding the U.S., exports to non-U.S. destinations grew by 9.8% to $153 billion

Despite its CETA trade deal with the EU, Canada’s exports to the EU only grew by 5.9%

That’s a far lower growth rate than to all other non-U.S. countries

It’s even lower than Canada’s average export growth rate to the entire World

In 2018, Canada’s goods imports from the world grew by 5.8% to $607 billion

Canada found its imports from the EU grew by double this rate, at 11.8%


Canada’s trade with the EU after they did the trade deal.

Canada’s exports to the EU are growing almost half as fast as they are to the rest of the world

The EU’s exports to Canada are growing twice as fast as Canada is seeing from the rest of the world.

A final comparison — with the United Kingdom

The average of all global goods exports from all countries around the world grew by 9.8% in 2018. UK global goods exports grew by 10.1% in the same year.

Despite 15 years of tortuous negotiations with the EU, and finally securing a trade deal (which is still not legally ratified), Canada only managed to grow its exports to the EU by 5.9% in the latest year for which statistics are available.

The mainstream media is full of the personality politics of the trade battle between the EU and the UK, as usual.

I like most of us I would hope most definitely welcome the more robust arguments which are finally coming out of №10, after four years of us pleading with them to act tough with the EU.

That said, as far as I can see no major news organisation — and certainly not our national broadcaster the BBC — has bothered to do any research to see if the much talked about Canada deal is worth having in the first place.

It's about time they did, in fact, it's actually their job to do that research and then show everyone the result of that research. That's what they are there for. Programs like the BBCs Panorama used to be very good at this sort of thing.

If they are not willing to do that sort of thing anymore then the BBC is not fit for purpose and should be closed down.

Sources: Canadian Government Global Affairs Dept | Statistics Canada | WTO | EU Commission ]



Graham Charles Lear

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