The Canadian Ambassador made a stopover in New Aquitaine. An opportunity to look at the country’s place in the Aquitaine economy, and the CETA agreement.
Canada’s Ambassador to Aquitaine
On March 1 and 2, Canadian Ambassador Isabelle Hudon travelled to New Aquitaine to discuss the new exchange between the European Union and Canada, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). In the face of many concerns, the ambassador came to explain the economic opportunities of the agreement.
Many Canadian companies are located in the region and trade in 2017 amounted to 552 million euros. Exports to Canada increased by nearly 21% between 2016 and 2017. Are numbers indeed dreaming but will they always be as good with the arrival of the new agreement? The North American country ranks 17th among countries trading directly with the region in terms of trade, far behind the United States or Spain.
A delay that the agreement could well catch up and that could benefit the Aquitaine companies that export mainly wine and aeronautical products. In addition, in recent years, several Aquitaine companies have become international by opening branches in Canada (such as SS2I or Actiplay), and conversely, several Canadian companies have moved to the region.
CETA, between opportunity and uncertainty
CETA is a bilateral economic agreement between the EU and Canada. It aims to strengthen the already strong economic ties between the two entities, with Canada being the EU’s 12th largest trading partner and Canada’s second largest partner after the United States. The volume of trade rises to 60 billion euros per year and the new agreement should allow this figure to increase significantly.
However, the treaty creates a lot of concern. In particular, it results in the abolition of tariffs of up to 99%, which means greater competition with the arrival of duty-free Canadian products. Fear is high in the agricultural world. The CETA nevertheless involves the protection of ten Aquitaine Pgiis, such as foie gras from the Landes or prune from Agen. The other fear comes from the agreement on the settlement of disputes between companies and states, the shadow of some lobbies may well threaten agreements obtained with difficulty.
Foreign investors in Aquitaine
In 2016, foreign investment accounted for 982 additional jobs in the region, an increase of 17% over 2015. Germany is the largest investor in the region (and the largest national investor) and Japan is the largest foreign job creator (2016 figures). As foreign projects are mainly industrial, they remain concentrated largely in the Gironde department, which registers 29% of the projects.
In 2017, the New Aquitaine Region is the 5th French region in terms of foreign investment. The economic upswing is supported by major projects such as the new LGV or the region’s internet coverage program.
Opening up to foreign markets is therefore an opportunity to develop exports, however increasing competition weakens some players who have not had the opportunity to deploy research and development strategies.
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