EU Canada trade deal finally nearing conclusion
The European Union is finally close to the conclusion of a free trade agreement between the EU and Canada, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA.
The deal is set to benefit people and businesses – big and small – across Europe as of the first day of its implementation. To allow for a swift signature and provisional application, so that the expected benefits are reaped without unnecessary delay, the Commission has decided to propose CETA as 'mixed' agreement.
This is without prejudice to its legal view, as expressed in a case currently being examined by the European Court of Justice concerning the trade deal reached between the EU and Singapore. With this step, the Commission makes its contribution for the deal to be signed during the next EU-Canada Summit, in October.
President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "The trade agreement between the EU and Canada is our best and most progressive trade agreement and I want it to enter into force as soon as possible. It provides new opportunities for European companies, while promoting our high standards for the benefit of our citizens. I have looked at the legal arguments and I have listened to Heads of State or Government and to national Parliaments. Now it is time to deliver. The credibility of Europe's trade policy is at stake."
After receiving the green light from the Council and the consent of the European Parliament it will be possible to provisionally apply the agreement.
From day one, CETA will scrap almost all customs duties, saving EU firms hundreds of millions of euros a year in duty payments, thus also benefitting European consumers directly, by reducing prices and increasing choice of products imported from Canada.
It will boost trade in services, create new market access and provide better access for European suppliers of services in which EU companies are world leaders, ranging from maritime services, telecoms, and engineering to environmental services and accountancy. It will make it easier for service suppliers to travel between the EU and Canada to connect with their customers.
It will facilitate the recognition of professional qualifications for regulated professions (such as architects, accountants and engineers), opening up new opportunities for professionals in these sectors. And it will allow EU companies to bid for Canadian public contracts at all levels of government – federal, provincial and local – and in areas from IT systems to roads to trains.
Besides cutting customs duties, CETA will help cut costs for EU firms, especially the smaller ones. This will happen thanks to the mutual recognition of so-called "conformity assessment certificates" for a wide range of products, from electrical goods to toys. For example, if an EU firm wants to export toys it will only need to get its product tested once, in Europe, to obtain a certificate valid for Canada, thus saving time and money.
Canada has also taken commitments to follow the EU's approach and publish all its public procurement tenders on a single website. This will make it much easier for interested EU companies to access the information they need about such tenders.
Thanks to CETA, Canadian and EU businesses will now compete on a truly level playing-field.
CETA also contains strong rules on the protection of labour rights and the environment. Both sides have pledged never to undermine the EU's high standards for the sake of commercial interests, but instead to work together to encourage others around the world - particularly developing countries - to raise their own.
Over 140 European Geographical Indications of food and drink products (from Tiroler Speck, from Austria, to Gouda and Roquefort cheeses from the Netherlands and France) will enjoy a high level of protection in the Canadian market, whereas without the agreement there is no such protection. CETA will make sure that only genuine products can be sold in Canada under those names.
In addition, CETA introduces a new investment court system and enhanced rules on investment protection. This guarantees the right of EU governments to regulate in the interest of their citizens, while still encouraging foreign investors by protecting their investments. The new system also makes the resolution of investment disputes fairer and more transparent. As such it serves as an important step towards the EU's ultimate goal of a global investment court.
Following a decision by the Council, it will be possible to provisionally apply CETA. Its full entering into force will be subject to the conclusion by the EU, through a Council decision with the consent of the European Parliament, and by all Member States through the relevant national ratification procedures.
Read the June 2016 issue of Business Review USA & Canada magazine
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.