Canadian companies have much greater access to their 2nd biggest market, as a major trade deal between Canada and the European Union entered into force on the 21st September.

Known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, the deal clears barriers to trade for Canada’s largest trading partner after the United States.

CETA offers new opportunities for EU businesses of all sizes to export to Canada.

It will save EU businesses €590 million a year – the amount they pay in tariffs on goods exported to Canada.

As of 21 September CETA removes duties on 98% of products (tariff lines) that the EU trades with Canada. It also gives EU companies the best access ever offered to companies from outside Canada to bid on the country’s public procurement contracts – not just at the federal level but at provincial and municipal levels, too.

Given the uncertainty surrounding NAFTA and trade relations with the United States generally CETA provides a hug boost for Canadian confidence and their economy.

CETA is a two-way trade agreement, providing EU companies access to their 11th largest export market worth over £30m.

The trade agreement is expected to increase bilateral trade by 20% annually.

The first round of negotiations was held in Ottawa in October 2009 and an agreement in principle was announced four years later. After fine-tuning some contentious clauses, a final legal text was released in February 2016.

Adoption of the deal in Europe was nearly scuttled by Wallonia, a Belgian region of 3.6 million people.

A final round of negotiation saved the agreement from a Wallonia veto that would have ended seven tough years of talks.