On Sunday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) at a Canada-Europe Summit. CETA is a landmark trade deal between the government of Canada and the 28 member-states of the European Union, which is slated to eliminate up to 98% of tariff barriers between Canada and the EU. The agreement will take effect as early is mid-2017, though a number of key provisions must still be ratified by both signatories.
Sub-national Procurement and Implications for Municipalities
The primary implications of CETA for municipalities in Ontario is the chapter on public procurement, which applies to federal, provincial and municipal governments. Under the deal European firms will have access to the procurement markets of sub-national governments (provincial, municipal). However, municipalities will retain the ability to give preference to local companies in some circumstances, including by:
- Non-contractual agreements (eg. grants, loans or fiscal incentives)
- Government procurement in cases of procurement that are not subject to the CETA procurement obligations (eg. below threshold, excluded goods or services)
Moreover, the deal will not force municipalities to privatize or deregulate their public utilities. The CETA deal will preserve the right of countries to introduce regulations, and to amend regulations to meet policy objectives, as long as those objectives to apply to trading partners in a discriminatory manner.