EU countries are considering signing the free trade agreement with Canada this month, but the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) is far from the only deal the EU is working on. Various deals are being negotiated all over the globe, but they can only enter into force if the European Parliament approves them. Read on for an overview of negotiations in progress and a discussion of how it works.
Types of agreements
The EU has different types of agreements in place with countries. They can focus on reducing or eliminating tariff barriers or establishing a customs union by removing customs duties and establishing a joint customs tariff for foreign imports.
It’s not all about tariffs. It could also be about investment and how to deal with disputes involving investment. For example when a company feels a decision by a government is affecting its investment in that country. Non-tariff barriers are also vital such as product standards (for example the EU has banned certain hormones in cattle farming over health fears).
The negotiations for CETA finished in September 2014. The agreement is due to be discussed at the EU summit on 20-21 October in view of its potential signing later this month.
However, Parliament will still need to approve it before it can ultimately enter into force. The international trade committee is set to vote on the trade deal in December and then all MEPs will still have to vote on it during a plenary session. If approved, CETA could already enter into force next year.
Other trade agreements are also in the pipeline.