Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) was proud to partner with the Ontario Government and sponsor the Europe Global Export Forum in Toronto. This Forum provided Ontario small or medium-sized businesses the opportunity to connect with industry and European experts and explore the emerging opportunities in exporting to the European Union (EU).

$17.1 billion Ontario-to-European Union Exports in 2014

The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will set the framework to unlock new market opportunities for businesses in all sectors and regions of Canada. Although we have free trade agreements in force with more than 10 countries,  CETA is arguable the most comprehensive and broadest reaching trade agreement that Canada has ever undertaken, even more ambitious than the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). CETA, by reducing and eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers will make Canadian goods, technologies and expertise (from farms to Engineering) more competitive in the lucrative EU market and benefit businesses of all sizes. On the day CETA enters into force, 98 percent of all EU tariff lines will be duty-free for Canada, providing our exporters with a clear advantage over their competitors.

Why is ‎CETA key for Ontario/ for Canada?

  • The European Union market has 28 member states, and 500 million people, and is the second largest trade market (after the United States) for Ontario.
  • EU has an annual economic activity of almost $18 trillion, and is the largest market in the world.
  • EU is the world’s largest importing market for goods: the EU’s annual imports ($2.3 trillion) are worth more than Canada’s total gross domestic product (GDP), which stood at $1.9 trillion in 2013.
  • Over 400 companies from the EU already have offices in Canada, and 300 of those offices are in Ontario.
  • Ontario is a leading EU partner for R&D both industrial and academic.

It is expected that CETA will result in a 98 percent reduction in tariffs for Canadian companies exporting to the EU, which presents massive opportunities for Canadian companies that have done their research, have an EU marketing plan and can move quickly.

CETA will address everything from tariffs to product standards, investment, professional certification and many others areas of activity.  For CENGN, one key CETA benefit is reciprocal recognition of technology certification and mutual acceptance of test results between Canada-EU. This means that we can provide ICT product performance, integration, verification and certification testing – with our state-of-the-art Physical and Virtualized Multi-vendor Network Platform for both our Canadian and European clients and the results will accepted in both markets.

Biggest errors Canadian companies can make in accessing the EU market

  • Canadian must do their homework! Know the market and your competitors!
  • Canadians must hold a firm understanding of the regional culture
  • Canadians cannot underestimate the competition in the EU
  • Canadians should take into consideration the time it takes to get registered with the proper certifications
  • Canadians should consider looking into partnerships with companies already in the EU market – to sell in the market you need to be in the market.
  • Canadians should research investment tax credits before opening an office in the EU because the tax credits vary in each country.

What to do while waiting for CETA?

There are indications that CETA will likely take another 2 years until it is fully ratified by all EU states. One reason for the delay is because the document needs to be translated into 26 languages. In the meantime, companies should start their market research and get prepared to take full advantage of the opportunities in the European Union. Develop EU marketing strategies and research your competition and the current and future trends in the EU.

Ontario leads over 60 trade missions per year – helping small-to-medium businesses receive export success around the world. This means that it is wise to get to know organizations such as Export Development Canada, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (who have programs and grants for Ontario companies looking to export) and the many provincial and federal Trade Commissioners across Canada. We also recommend that Canadian companies who are looking for international partners check out this industry-driven initiative:

Also take advantage of other industry led initiatives with National Centres of Excellence such as CENGN, Wavefront, and CDMN.