Trade Law

Toronto German-Speaking Lawyers

While the number of companies that engage in international trade keeps growing, these businesses must keep in mind their obligation to comply with international trade and investment laws. Polten & Associates, as an internationally oriented law firm, has the ability to provide our clients with timely advice on crucial aspects of international trade, including:

  • Regulation of foreign investments according to the Investment Canada Act
  • Analysis of multinational trade agreements (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement CETA, North American Free Trade Agreement, World Trade Organization Agreements, etc.)
  • Free trade agreement dispute settlement
  • Advising foreign companies on the establishment of business operations in Canada including: tax implications, employment and labour issues, acquisition of real property, and domestic banking issues.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) is expected to be signed during the year of 2015. Lifting of trade barriers will be an important event for export-driven economies, such as that of Germany.

Please find a short overview of the CETA agreement below:

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

Benefits of CETA

Elimination of tariffs on goods

Once CETA comes into force, about 98 percent of the EU's tariffs on Canadian goods will be eliminated, and some of those tariffs remaining will also be eliminated over the following seven-year period. Rules of origin for all products will ensure that only goods made in Canada or the EU will be given the duty-free advantage.

Elimination of technical barriers

Technical barriers such as requirements on labelling, product testing and certification, will be gradually eliminated through regulatory cooperation. The agreement will provide a mechanism for acceptance of test results and issuance of certification by the individual countries.

Faster entry of goods

CETA will reduce processing times at the border, making the entry of goods faster and more predictable.

Investment protection

Investors will be provided with greater protection of their investments. This will partially be secured by the CETA investor-state dispute settlement process.

Investments will be protected from discriminatory or arbitrary government actions, for which the investors will be entitled to receive compensation.

Services

Common regulation of licensing and qualification criteria will promote access to individual markets. Agreement on mutual recognition of professional qualifications will facilitate temporary entry for highly skilled workers. This will enable Canadian/European companies and professionals to have greater flexibility when bidding for contracts or providing services in the foreign market.

Government Procurement

Businesses will be able to participate in the respective government procurement markets. In this regard, CETA will only apply to high-value procurement contracts with a certain threshold value; this provision is intended to enable the governments to support local development. Cultural industries, research and development, defence, services in the fields of recreation, sport and education and social and health-care services will remain closed.

Intellectual Property

CETA will provide for more effective rules on protection of copyright and extended patent protection. The pharmaceutical sector will acquire extended protection for their patents, including eight years of data protection and up to two years of additional patent protection lost due to delays in the approval process. CETA will provide a predictable regime to protect the market from counterfeited goods.

CETA will also provide for wider recognition of EU geographical indications for certain foods.

Dispute Settlement

The dispute settlement procedure will make use of a mutually agreeable third party to speed up the resolution process. Parties will be free to choose arbitration over mediation. An accelerated arbitration procedure will facilitate the resolution of cases requiring urgent decisions, such as those involving perishable foods.

What are CETA's rules of origin?

Rules of origin allow products to qualify for tariff elimination. Simply stated, rules of origin will allow European and Canadian products to be moved between the applicable countries free of duties. With regard to automobiles a main rule of origin restricts non-originating materials to 50%.

Products with a certain proportion of inputs/materials imported from other countries can be subject to differing rules of origin and a certain quota. This origin quota of 100,000 vehicles per year applies to automobiles with a certain proportion of transaction value (70%) or net cost (80%) made up of non-originating materials.

Who is allowed temporary entry into a CETA country?

The Agreement will provide for greater labour mobility. In particular, it should allow temporary entry for the following categories of personnel:

  • intra-corporate transferees (senior personnel and specialists): the lesser of 3 years or length of contract
  • contract service suppliers, independent professionals, intra-corporate transferees (graduate trainees) and investors: the lesser of one year or length of contract
  • short-term business visitors (including for investment purposes): 90 days within any six-month period.

Will there be mutual recognition of qualifications?

CETA will enable mutual recognition of qualifications by laying down a framework so that legislators or professional organizations can negotiate mutual-recognition agreements.

How does investment protection work?

The general rule follows the principle that investors from Canada and the EU must be treated fairly and in a non-discriminatory manner. Investments will be protected from expropriation, including indirect expropriation. Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) rules will provide for resolution of claims against the states through mediation and arbitration. State measures that are exempted include measures with regard to culture and tax policy, and measures necessary for protection of human life and national security, etc.

To Learn More About Trade Law

Contact Polten & Associates by calling from the Toronto area 647-724-4175 or from elsewhere toll free 1-866-322-6521.