On 10 June 2016, EA and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) signed a bilateral cooperation agreement aimed to support the Canada and European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Picture: John Walter, SCC Chief Executive Officer, with Andreas Steinhorst, EA Executive Secretary, signing the SCC-EA bilateral cooperation agreement.

The Canada and EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a high quality agreement that reinforces Canada’s fundamental relationship with the European Union. The CETA agreement covers all aspects of Canada’s broad trading relationship with the EU, including goods, services, investment, government procurement and regulatory cooperation. It will provide Canada’s access to the world’s largest market with more than 500 million people in 28 countries, and a combined GDP of $20 trillion.

The bilateral cooperation agreement (BCA) just signed by EA and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) will enable the implementation of the Conformity Assessment Protocol provided for in the CETA agreement, allowing for the mutual acceptance by Canada and the EU of test results and product certifications delivered by each other’s recognized bodies. This will help facilitate trade and open doors for EU and Canadian companies.

The EA-SCC agreement “will be essential to supporting the Government of Canada’s trade agenda and opening up tremendous opportunities for Canadian companies who wish to grow and expand into the European market”, asserts John Walter, SCC Chief Executive Officer.

Indeed differing regulations and standards between countries can cause delays and restrict market access for industry. Such a mutual recognition of accreditation bodies through the CETA Conformity Assessment Protocol will help to address these issues by allowing conformity assessment bodies in Canada and the EU to be recognized in certain areas through one mutually-accepted accreditation.

For Andreas Steinhorst, the EA Executive Secretary, the EA-SCC cooperation agreement should be welcomed as “a key element for the implementation of CETA and its protocol on the mutual acceptance of the results of conformity assessment. The agreement is going to support the elimination of import duties and technical obstacles to trade, saving European exporters around €500 million a year. Furthermore, it will strengthen the consumers’ trust in marketed products”.

This major cooperation agreement signed by EA demonstrates again the importance of the role played by accreditation which proves a crucial milestone in trade agreements and free movement of goods and services at a global level.