Canada-Europe – Provisional Application of CETA

By | October 22, 2013

While it’s too early to really know how each side (Ottawa and Brussels) will move toward implementing and ratifying the CETA – after all, we don’t even have the text of the treaty yet – there are some interesting scenarios that can be discussed.

One scenario concers provisional implementation of the CETA. Can this be done before the whole thing is ratified and in force?


Once the treaty-drafting is finished and the full CETA document is available, it will be signed by the PM and the President of the EU. It then will proceed to the internal approval proceeses on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Over here, the CETA will be tabled in Parliament. An implementing bill will then be introduced and the necessary laws and regulations enacted. Once that is done here and in the EU, the treaty will be formally ratified and will enter into force.

But ahead of all of this being completed – it could take a year or more – there’s nothing to prevent each side agreeing on provisional implementation of certain CETA provisions. For example, tariff reduction – most duties are to be eliminated completely – could be done provisionally. This is an area under exclusion juridiction of Ottawa and Brussels and doesn’t require any agreement by the Provinces or the EU member states. It would be pretty easy.

There are other areas as well that could easily be put into effect pending full ratification. Rules of origin, easing of temporary entry and movement of personel, investment provisions and a range of other areas under exclusive jurisidction of Brussels and Ottawa could be implemented by means of a protocol of provisional application.

There are many precedents for this approach. The more than can be done in this regard after formal Parliamentary approval and pending full ratification the better. Why be held hostage to technical and procedural delays if there’s a better way?