CETA: Trade Promotion & Information is Key

Canadian and European SME’s need assistance in finding the way towards trade between Canada and EU.

Hearing about falling tariffs isn’t going to be enough. Businesses on both sides of the pond are going to need to experience a closer connection for the trade deal to have an impact. Putting businesses in front of each other, face to face will make the most sense. Put them in a room together and watch relationships develop, but only talk to them about it, and you’ll see them choose to rather stay home and wait and see. Trade promotion needs to bring the experience home. Businesses like to feel that that know the lay of the land, that there are no surprises, and that their invested time will yield business that is sustainable for the foreseeable future.

The Canadian Chamber in Hungary is working on just that. We’d like to see businesses meet each other in person. Trade promotion events organised between chamber and business association members in Canada and in the EU will foster opportunities for businesses to meet first hand and experience who they might just start something new with. At a recent lunch in Cambridge, Ontario, I was amazed to see 150 or more businesses come out to a Cambridge Chamber lunch earlier this month. Companies lined up to shake my hand at the end and have a first look at this guy from exotic Budapest. I sensed that indeed, getting a group of our members to meet this crowd could lead somewhere indeed.

A new machine, perhaps a new food product, or a venture to finish an Alberta firm’s products in Hungary or in Portugal, it’s hard to say where it will first take hold, but increase trade between these two markets could see billions more in economic activity in places where it’s badly needed. As the political landscape in Europe changes and the importance of trade deals like this are debated, CETA is receiving Royal Ascent in Ottawa and is kicking off the process whereby the provinces will adopt and adapt their own legislation to take the federal lead. Within weeks of today, CETA will be a reality and businesses will be in a position to take advantage of the rising gates. CETA should be in place by mid-summer.

Of all the risks and concerns expressed against this agreement, one thing is for certain: there is a process and a way to deal with any bumps on the road carved out for trade. But let’s not loose sight of the fact that increases in trade means jobs. More jobs and more economic activities are what the French are looking for to solve those internal issues that have kept this country over s cauldron of political strife for nearly a decade; better jobs and trade are also far more likely to lessen the gaps between Eastern and Western European nations too. The same is true from a Canadian perspective where a little diversity in customers might make any concern about what Trump might do to NAFTA seem a bit less relevant.

It’s now going to be up to the governments of Canada, provinces and municipalities included — as well their European counterparts — to pave the way and it will be up to the trade associations and Chambers of Commerce to bring their members to fodder. I am now feeling very warm about CCCH cooperation possibilities around European portion of CETA with other Canadian trade associations in Europe.

There is nothing more exciting in the life of a Chamber than seeing businesses come together and reach an unexpected deal over a lunch event organised by us. This happens as just as quickly and as unexpectedly as connections to people lead to new and wonderful chapters in our own lives. “Are we matchmakers?”, one might ask.  I suppose in a way we are.

Welcome to our new Board elected

Look for the trade event coming soon!

Nicholas Sarvari,
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hungary







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