FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will take effect on Thursday, eliminating virtually all tariffs between Canada and countries within the European Union (EU).

“Your government recognizes the tremendous opportunity the European market represents, and we welcome the implementation of this free trade agreement between Canada and the EU,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “This agreement will allow New Brunswick businesses to grow and create jobs as they are given the opportunity to export items to the EU.”

Currently, only 25 per cent of EU tariff lines on Canadian goods are duty-free. Beginning on Thursday, 98 per cent will be duty-free, and an additional one per cent will be phased out over a seven-year period.

“To grow our New Brunswick economy, we have to diversify, and that is why CETA is so important: it enables us to do just that,” said Treasury Board President Roger Melanson, who is also the minister responsible for trade policy. “The free flow of goods between New Brunswick and Europe is going to diversify our markets, especially in the agriculture, forestry, seafood and aquaculture industries, which will help us promote New Brunswick businesses and create opportunities that will drive our economy forward.”

In 2016, almost $122 million in New Brunswick goods were exported to the EU, while $444 million in goods were imported from the EU to New Brunswick that same year.

Exports of New Brunswick seafood to key European markets were valued at $61.1 million in 2016, up from $50.4 million in 2015. For fish and seafood, almost 96 per cent of EU tariff lines become duty-free as CETA takes effect.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A photo opportunity will be held TODAY, Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 3:45 p.m. at Prelam Enterprises, 300 Baig Blvd., Suite C6, Moncton. Premier Brian Gallant and Finance Minister Cathy Rogers will participate.