Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West | CONFERENCE AT CONFINDUSTRIA. ONE YEAR OF CETA FOR CANADA – EU RELATIONSHIPS: NUMBERS AND PERSPECTIVES, THE STRATEGIC AREAS OF THE AGREEMENT, THE ADVANTAGES FOR ITALIAN COMPANIES
Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West
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29 Nov CONFERENCE AT CONFINDUSTRIA. ONE YEAR OF CETA FOR CANADA – EU RELATIONSHIPS: NUMBERS AND PERSPECTIVES, THE STRATEGIC AREAS OF THE AGREEMENT, THE ADVANTAGES FOR ITALIAN COMPANIES

Confindustria, Centro Studi Italia Canada, NCTM Law Firm and ICC Italia, held on November 21, the Conference “Canada – EU: An Evolving Business Partnership”. Starting from the results and the data available in terms of trade to a year after the entry into force (provisional) of the CETA, and directing the debate on the real prospects and opportunities that the Economic Agreement between Canada and the EU offers to Italian companies, Paolo Quattrocchi, NCTM Law Firm partner, director of the CSIC and Vice President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in  Canada West, moderated, in the headquarters of Confindustria in Rome, the panels composed of technicians and experts from various sectors involved in liberalization.

 

Provide accurate information about the advantages that Italy can benefit from the CETA and the consequent growth of trade relations between Canada and the EU, identify critical issues with a view to improving the agreement, create a network of institutions and organizations engaged to promote and support the internationalization of Italian companies: the ambitious objective has been addressed at the Confindustria headquarters in Rome on 21 November, with an extensive program of works and a table of experts who responded to the invitation of Confindustria, Nctm Law Firm, Centro Studi Italia-Canada, International Chamber of Commerce – Italy, the four sponsoring organizations of the Conference “Canada-EU an evolving business partnership”.

 

A YEAR OF CETA: THE NUMBERS OF THE GROWTH OF ITALIAN EXPORT IN CANADA  

 

One year after the provisional entry into force of the CETA, the economic agreement between the EU and Canada, the data on trade between the two sides of the Atlantic see Italy as a protagonist. Laura Travaglini, Trade Policy Confindustria opened the day with the numbers involving the 13 thousand Italian companies that export to Canada, of which 80% are SMEs.  A comparison between the first nine months of 2018 compared to the same period of 2017 shows increases of 3.5% of Italian exports to Canada, + 10% for Agri-food, + 18% in the pharmaceutical sector, with an impressive + 25% in manufacturing. “These data demonstrate that, in a very difficult moment for international trade, CETA and the interest of our companies for the Canadian market have pushed the Italian export growth, reaching a value of 6 billion Canadian dollars.”

A role is undoubtedly attributed to the organizations that have worked in this year and work alongside international companies on international markets, to expand the commercial and investment opportunities abroad of Italian companies, such as the International Chamber of Commerce – Italy.

“The technical and legal support of ICC Italia is fundamental for our members to consciously choose if and how to use tools such as CETA to strengthen their business in countries of strategic interest”, said Ettore Pietrabissa, President of ICC Italia, at the opening of the seminar. «The lack of an in-depth knowledge of the contents and implications of international trade agreements often results in an attitude of closure or distrust towards openness to foreign markets. Opportunities for comparison with experts from different sectors facilitate a fair and impartial knowledge and assessment of the advantages and limitations that may derive from international trade agreements. CETA is an example of this: an important step in favor of world economic integration but sometimes seen with skepticism and as a potential threat to national economies.”

 

 

CANADA: A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY AND A CULTURAL PARTNER FOR EUROPE

 

The program of the day of work, moderated by Paolo Quattrocchi, has seen successive Italian and Canadian speakers involved in various strategic sectors on which the seminar focused: financial and industrial investments, agribusiness, accreditation and certifications, customs and infrastructural logistics, pharmaceutical. In each of these areas, NCTM law firm provided an in-depth analysis of the technical-legal aspects related to the application of CETA. The relevance of these aspects emerged in consideration of the fact that the interpretation of the rules and their correct reading are fundamental elements to highlight the advantages of the Agreement and its methods of use by entrepreneurs, but also the aspects on which to reflect.

 

Robert Jukes, global strategy of Canaccord[1], the most important private bank in Canada, after emphasizing the profound cultural closeness and principles between Canada and Europe, highlighted the aspects that immediately emerge at a first observation. Canada is a country of 37 million inhabitants with a surface of 10,000,000 square kilometers, young and with a high rate of population growth, with an impressive infrastructure development program, a leader in technology development programs, with an economy characterized by a growth rate (3%) higher than the United States ( 2%) and Italy (0.7%), with a potential for development of larger proportions, also considering the raw materials and natural reserves at its disposal. Add to this a remarkable political stability and an efficient banking system, which emerged unscathed from the 2008 crisis. Moreover, a natural propensity to conclude commercial treaties makes the North American country appears committed to the US and Mexico (USMCA), 11 Asian countries including Australia, New Zealand (TPP). If you add to this framework the other relatively agreements of minor economic importance, including the CETA, it emerges that Canada is a nerve center of global trade.

 

IMPORT – EXPORT: ACCREDITED CERTIFICATION AND CANADIAN CUSTOMS

 

The overview on the Canadian system and the state of relations with the European Union continued with interventions on subjects that have a concrete impact on the import – export activities of operators, such as the accredited certification of products and the Canadian customs system.

The accreditation system was treated by the intervention of Giuseppe Rossi, president of Accredia, which carries out activities aimed at accreditation and operates in the context of international agreements for mutual recognition of certifications (IAF and EA), signed by 170 countries. The Canadian customs regulations were illustrated by Marco Dell’Arciprete, operation supervisor of JAS-Italy. [2]

 

THE DISPUTE RESOLUTION SETTLEMENT PROVIDED BY CETA

 

One of the most discussed aspects of CETA is the State-investor Dispute Resolution settlement, which closed the first panel of the conference.  However, it should be clarified that the chapter is currently excluded from the provisional execution of the agreement. Dr. Angelo Anglani, partner of Nctm Law Firm and professor Maria Beatrice Deli, Secretary General of the National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce – Italy, illustrated the expectations of CETA to the audience of trade associations, entrepreneurs and stakeholders comparison with the ICSID mechanism. What emerged was a complex scenario certainly not “dangerous” as loudly said, but definitely worthy of attention as an element characterized by highly innovative technical contents. Moreover, this is one of the newest chapters of CETA and not surprisingly, given the controversy that this chapter has created, the agreement between the EU and Japan (almost all identical to CETA) has kept out this sticking point.

 

The programme also provided three sectoral focuses: Agri-food, public procurement, and pharma.

 

 

FOCUS AGRIFOOD: PROTECTION OF GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS, BATTLE AGAINST THE TALIAN SOUNDING, NEW CANADIAN REGULATIONS ON FOOD SAFETY

 

The panel on food was opened by Fabio Leonardi, Assolatte‘s Exports advisor. Italy is the first cheese supplier in Canada, with CETA the growth of export volumes of our dairy products has been evident: from 4700 tons in 2016, to 5000 tons in 2017, up to 6000 tons of Italian exports expected for 2018, corresponding to a + 20% on the value of Italian exports in the sector. The main theme is undoubtedly zero-duty tariff rate quotes and licenses for importers, a part of CETA that has often been considered a protectionist component of Canada. Leonardi said he was in favor of CETA and a system that in any case creates regulatory certainty for the operators, and he is also optimistic that clauses such as those relating to the quotas could be improved in the future. 

 

From the regulatory point of view, the Italian operators are also very aware of the aspects related to the battle against the Italian sounding and the methods of protection of the Geographical Indications. The intervention of lawyer Bernard O’Connor, partner of Nctm Studio Legale, has given clarity, starting from a fact: among the 143 Geographical Indications recognized by CETA, 41 are Italian, for a total value of Italian exports of more than 90%. It was reiterated that the period of provisional execution can be used to facilitate the inclusion, in the list, of other GIs and how the new Canadian intellectual property law provides for the possibility of registration (and therefore protection) of Italian GIs, not included in the CETA, as has recently happened for an IG related to a ham. Also, the ancient Italian sounding topic has been widely dealt with the remedies offered by CETA a defense of Italian products that, before the entry into force, not only were not protected but also not even considered commercial. Dr. O’Connor, therefore, concluded hoping for an improvement action by the Canadians in the system of sanctions applied to importers who do not commit all the import quotas of their assigned cheese.

 

The focus on the agro-food industry ended with the report on the Canadian food safety regulation, thanks to the intervention of Noemi Trombetti, of ITA Corporation, a company specialized in training, inspection, and review of food safety operations in North America, including the new Canadian legislation on the subject, which will come into force on January 15, 2019. On this theme, the Centro Studi Italia Canada, interviewed Dr. Trombetti at the end of the conference, for a study on the most important aspects of the legislation which, on the occasion of the November 21st meeting, aroused great interest.

 

FOCUS ON PUBLIC PROCUREMENT IN CANADA: OPPORTUNITIES FOR EUROPEAN COMPANIES

 

The key players of the debate on the strategic public procurement sector were Dr. Achille Tonani, Corporate Compliance & Relations of RINA SpA, Karl van Kessel, Counsellor – Mission of Canada to the EU  and Dr. Giuliano Berruti, partner of Nctm Law Firm. In fact, CETA opens up opportunities for European companies to participate in public procurements in Canada at all levels (federal, provincial and metropolitan). The Public Procurement is probably the sector from which we can expect very important economic returns, albeit complex utilization. Public investments in Canada are in fact in a very expansive phase, from port, airport and road infrastructures, to mobility and health. The regulatory framework has emerged from the analysis conducted by Dr. Berruti, is reassuring: the system of rules adopted by CETA incorporates European legislation, which makes the approach to the market less complex.

 

 

 

PHARMACEUTICAL FOCUS: ITALIAN EXCELLENCE IS 30 BILLION TURNOVER 

The panel that closed the conference, dedicated to the pharmaceutical industry, has given important considerations for the opportunities that might be of interest to our country. Following, there were the speeches by Pierluigi Petrone, CEO Petrone Group S.r.l. – Farmaindustria, Dr. Lorenzo Attolico, partner of Nctm Law Firm and Yuliya Shcherbina, of Accreditation Canada, a Canadian body that works to improve the quality of health and social services in the country. The focus provided an overview of the Canadian health care system and the numbers of Italy, which represents a true European excellence, both in terms of turnover and investments in Research and Development. Italy is, in fact the first EU country for pharmaceutical production, 31 billion the value of Italian production and 79% is represented by exports. 

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

Thanks to the reports of the experts and lawyers, compared during the intense morning of work organized at the headquarters of Confindustria, showed the need to continue to train and inform Italian companies so that, from the entry into force of CETA, even if provisional, they can take the greatest advantage and Italy is not outclassed by other European countries with which it competes in the Canadian market.

 

Dr. Paolo Quattrocchi, one of the promoters of the conference, said: “More information could have helped Italians entrepreneurs to benefit more from CETA. Not that the Agreement cannot present critical issues, which can, however, be examined and resolved during the implementation phase, facing the few issues with a constructive spirit in the interests of all, but given the very encouraging results found in the first year of CETA (provisional) execution, of course, much more could be done, only if, alongside the critical observations, the real interests of Italian exporters were taken care of and the different components of the Italian expo were formed and put in a position to avail with the instrument profit that was still available to them.”

 

The considerations derived on the occasion of this initiative and dedicated precisely to provide the right insight into the opportunities that Italian operators can benefit from CETA and the first results collected one year after its application, prompt us to reflect on the fact that a trade agreement is not in itself a guarantee of success, but always requires a constant work, conducted at all levels involved, so that we can achieve the expected positive results, also providing for the adjustments of the various components of production, that may be required by the market.

It was also important to underline that CETA is not just a free trade agreement, but a broader agreement, affecting many aspects of the relationships, not just commercial, between the EU and Canada. Prerequisite and completion of CETA is in fact, the Strategic Partnership Agreement that has objectives of high thickness and quality, which should lead to a clearer analysis of relations with Canada, a cultural partner close to the European model, and in a broader sense on the relations between the two sides of the Atlantic, in the global geopolitical context.

 

 

Paolo Quattrocchi’s statement

 

 


[1] Canaccord Wealth Management and Asset Allocation: the first Canadian business bank, operating for years in investment banking and wealth management.

[2] Jet Air Service Spa (JAS) -Italy: leader in the international transport market.

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