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The Future is Here: What Canadian Agri-Business Needs to Think About Today in Relation to CETA

24/02/2014


It was a historic day when Canada and the European Union (EU) signed a free trade agreement (CETA) in the fall of 2013. With 80,000 new jobs and $12 billion in annual economic growth projected, the opportunities are immense – including for our nation’s agri-food businesses. But with those opportunities comes plenty of questions and potential challenges, all of which need to start being looked at now.

Looking Abroad
While it’s unclear just how CETA will specifically impact various sectors, there are still plenty of questions agri-food producers and manufacturers should already be asking. For one, is now the right time for your operation to expand abroad? If so, research must be completed to determine which European markets will be the most receptive to your products and how your new exports will impact your existing capacity. The last thing you want is to see a huge uptick in demand overseas and not be able to fulfill it.

Closer to Home

Meanwhile, you can bet European producers are already considering their Canadian prospects in light of CETA. European nations are already well-known for their talents at export trade. In fact, it’s how they’ve built their markets. Canadian producers should be prepared for new EU products to be hitting the shelves, bringing a whole new level of competition. Have you considered what you’ll need to do to stay competitive within your category?

Making a Plan
It’s more important than ever for Canadian agri-food businesses to be proactive about this shift. Start by looking at your goals and your current business situation. From there, analyze the EU markets you’re either considering entering or anticipate new competition from domestically. Where there is overlap, there is opportunity, or at least, areas to start working on improving today. Also take into consideration how tools offered by the Canadian government – such as the Canada brand and AgriMarketing programs for exporters – may benefit your operation. Making strategic choices that are tax, business and market-driven will help you take advantage of these new opportunities while protecting your stake in Canada.