14 Jul 2008

Canada and the European Union: Prospects for a Free Trade Agreement

Selen Sarisoy Guerin / Christopher Napoli

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This paper argues that there are significant potential economic gains to be obtained from an EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement. The evolution of trade between the US and Canada following the signing of CUSFTA in 1989 offers a good illustration of how trade might increase after an EU-Canada FTA, as the patterns and levels of protection between the EU and Canada today are very similar to the protection that existed between the US and Canada in 1989. Although many empirical studies fail to find support for ‘trade diversion’ created by NAFTA (or CUSFTA) at the expense of the EU and to the benefit of the US, there is some evidence of trade diversion when detailed regional trade is examined. If indeed trade diversion has occurred due to NAFTA, then an EU-Canada FTA is welfare-enhancing for Canada. For the EU, a potential FTA can level the playing field with the US and increase the competitiveness of European firms in the Canadian market.