The EU is the world’s biggest trading block and largest single market. Goods and services exports accounts for more than forty percent of Canada’s gross domestic product, with trade responsible for one out of every three jobs.

Economic relations between Canada and the EU are characterized by strong two-way trade and investment flows. Two-way trade in goods and services are over $170 billion, with steady growth in exports since CETA went into force in September 2017. The EU market is destination for over 10% of Canada’s exports. Conversely, Canada is the destination for more than 2% of EU exports placing it amongst the EU’s top 10 trading partners.

The value of bilateral trade in services between the two partners amounted to over $55 billion in 2019. Examples of often traded services between Canada and the EU are transportation, travel, insurance and communication.

However, investment is the true story of the Canada EU relationship. In the globalizing 90’s, companies in Europe and North America began to rely less on selling to each other’s market, and increasingly on selling in each other’s market. The EU is now the second largest investor in Canada (after the US), while Canada is the fourth investor in the EU (after the US, Switzerland and Japan). Two-way investment now accounts for seven times the amount of bilateral trade in goods and services, and is regularly increasing.

The stock of Canadian direct investment in the EU reached $390 billion in 2019, representing more than one quarter of all Canadian direct investment abroad. The EU represents the second largest source of foreign direct investment in Canada, with investment stock amounting to almost $395 billion in 2019, or more than 30% of foreign direct investment into Canada. The result is that sales in each other’s market by wholly-owned affiliates are more than five times the value of exports.

As Canada and Europe have drawn closer together over the past two decades, CERT has worked closely with government to help pave the way for the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that came into force in September 2017.

The 2008 scoping study Assessing the Costs and Benefits of a Closer Canada-EU Economic Partnership originally showed that the results of economic modeling indicate a lower bound of potential GDP gains from liberalizing goods and services trade of a minimum of $12 billion for Canada and $18 billion for the EU in the first seven years after liberalization. Results have shown that this was a conservative estimate, as bilateral trade in goods and services has increased more than $50 billion over the past three years.