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Ambassador Hamilton: CETA is a historic agreement

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Under the new EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Romanian experts will be allowed to practice in this North American state, where they will have their studies recognized, Canadian ambassador in Bucharest Kevin Hamilton told a dedicated conference organized in partnership with Romania's Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Treaty is devised in such a manner that it will facilitate the access of EU specialists to the Canadian labor market. Both Canadian and Romanian experts will have their studies mutually recognized, a situation that will benefit companies in both countries which export equipment, or those operating in IT, telecom and software. This can be also beneficial for small and medium-sized enterprises that do not afford to hire personnel in Canada and must provide services directly from Romania. CETA will facilitate the transfer of personnel across the Atlantic and will allow companies to send staff for equipment maintenance, creating a framework for the recognition of professional qualifications in areas such as architecture or accounting, the ambassador said.

He added that along with the CETA agreement, Romanian companies will have access to bids organized by the Canadian authorities at federal, provincial, and municipal level.

CETA will create vast new opportunities in the EU and Canada, will open new markets for exporters and will establish close links between European countries and Canada. After the agreement comes into force, the potential of Canada and the EU bilateral trade is expected to rise by 23 pct and EU exports will grow annually by 17 billion euro. At the same time, the agreement could boost the EU GDP by 11.6 billion euro, Hamilton said.

For Romania, as a EU member state, the agreement will bring direct benefits, such as tax cuts for trade in goods, the limitation of tariff barriers, the facilitation of investment, access to government tenders, the protection of intellectual property rights, labor mobility, labor and environmental protection.

The most noticeable immediate effect will be the elimination of tariffs for almost all Romanian goods and services exported to Canada. (...) More than 300 Romanian companies of all sizes are exporting to Canada a wide range of goods and services such as clothing and footwear, nuclear power equipment, electric equipment and cereals. Romanian exports to Canada currently exceed 200 million euro and carry a high growth potential as CETA gradually comes into force, the ambassador added.

He also said that over 40,000 jobs help achieve these exports and the expansion of agreements will create opportunities for new jobs.

Electrical installations and equipment account for almost 20 percent of Romanian exports to Canada. After CETA's coming into force the fees of up to 9 percent for these goods will be immediately removed, said the Canadian diplomat.

Hamilton emphasized that CETA is a historic agreement.

According to Chairman of Romania's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIR) Mihai Daraban, the comprehensive economic and trade agreement between the European Union and Canada (CETA) means actual new opportunities for Romania to exceed the borders of Europe thanks to an almost full repeal of all commercial fees .

"We, overall, cannot but be favoured by this CETA agreement, given our economic makeup. It virtually opens to us other worldwide opportunities, because Romania's big problem is it has remained captive to the European Union, some forward processors for the big European economy. I believe we should have the courage to get beyond the EU borders in terms of commerce, and this agreement virtually opens to us an unexpected opportunity. (...) We are anyhow a bit slow when it comes to being conquerors, even beyond Romania's borders, but particularly beyond the EU borders," said Daraban.

He added that with CETA coming into effect, 98 percent of tariff barriers will be repealed as well as 93 percent or rates and taxes on agri-food products.

"At the same time, the agreement will mean easier acknowledgment of the professional skills of Romanian employees, as well as participation in the biddings on the Canadian market," said Daraban.

He went on to say that the current agricultural exchanges with Canada generate 6.5 million euros a year in Romania's foreign trade revenues.

"This is somehow weak, we must say, but our garniture is undergoing adjustments, redefining, recalibrating land property. As you may well know, farmland mapping is still ongoing. This is still quite a slow process. But we have to believe in agriculture, because it is there that our potential lies. Last but not least, the 2008-2012 economic crisis witnessed a boom in Romania's cereals storage capacity. In the Constanta Port alone, the capacity increased from about 200,000 tonnes to 1 million tonnes, which is pretty clear. Further potential exists, but it all depends on us after all. These international agreements get us rid if tariff, customs barriers, but we would not expect anyone to draw us production," said Daraban.

The CCIR senior official added that the agreement will come into force in some weeks' time after being ratified by each national parliament of the European Union's 27 member states as well as by the Canadian Government.

He mentioned that, under the agreement, Romanian nationals will be allowed to travel visa free to Canada as from December 1, 2017.

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