Seimas ratified a free trade agreement between Canada and the EU and issued a special statement
At its sitting, the Seimas ratified the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part, adopted in Brussels on 30 October 2016. The Law providing for the ratification of the Agreement was adopted with 70 votes in favour, 6 against and 14 abstentions.
While ratifying this Agreement, the Seimas also adopted a Resolution on issuing a parliamentary statement, which was supported by 53 MPs, 22 voting against and 12 abstaining. In the adopted document, the Seimas declares that it joins the statements of the European Commission and EU Member States adopted during the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU and its Member States, in so far as they cover the application of the precautionary principle for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and trade in hormone-treated meat. This statement reaffirms that provisions of the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Canada, of the other part, do not prevent the application of the precautionary principle in the EU as set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The EU-Canada trade agreement is intended to strengthen their close economic relationship, give more room for economic operators, reduce or eliminate trade and investment barriers and establish clear and mutually advantageous rules governing trade and investment.
As stated in the explanatory note, the Agreement eliminates import duties on industrial and agricultural goods, provides for notable opening of the Canadian public procurement and service markets, eliminates non-tariff barriers to trade, ensures the protection of investments and intellectual property, facilitates trade, temporary entry and stay of natural persons for business purposes, and envisages mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
“It is anticipated that, following the application of the Agreement, Lithuanian exports to Canada will increase and the Lithuanian exporters will save over EUR 1 million in customs duties annually from customs duty liberalisation alone. The Agreement will contribute to the growth of jobs and overall economy in Lithuania. It will enable Lithuanian manufacturers to export their goods to Canada duty-free, cut down processing time at the border and reduce the regulatory barriers. A significant improvement of trade conditions on the Canadian market will benefit the Lithuanian companies, in particular, small and medium-sized businesses,” the explanatory note reads.
The Agreement will allow Lithuanian companies to participate in public tendering in Canada. “As many as 150 Lithuanian companies are currently exporting their production to Canada, 80 per cent of them being small and medium-sized businesses. A total of 2,500 Lithuanian jobs are directly dependent on exports to Canada. The Agreement will facilitate the development of their exports and encourage other Lithuanian companies to export to Canada,” the document states.
The Agreement will eliminate 99 per cent of import duties. “The exporters of textiles, clothing, and furniture, many of whom are small and medium-sized enterprises in Lithuania, should get the biggest benefit resulting from lower import duties. The Agreement will also allow the expansion of the Lithuanian food exports to Canada. The Agreement eliminates customs duties on fish products and the majority of processed foods on which a 10 to 25 per cent import duty is currently being applied by Canada. The conditions for the export of alcoholic and soft drinks, cereals, confectionery, fruit and vegetable products will also improve. The cheese quota for EU producers will be increased twice, 30 per cent of which will be allocated to new market participants, Lithuanian companies included,” the explanatory note reads.
The Seimas also ratified the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Canada, of the other part, adopted in Brussels. The decision was adopted with 67 votes in favour, 3 against and 9 abstentions.