October 20, 2020

Don’t be fooled: let’s save CETA together

To the Cypriot entrepreneurs

By Sergio Passariello.

We witnessed with amazement and bitterness the outcome of the vote that the Cyprus Parliament has reserved for CETA, the EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement, which has failed the ratification process in your country.

While respecting the choices made by the majority of your deputies, and keeping intact the esteem and friendship that binds us to your country, we feel we must invite all of you to reflect more deeply on the reasons that led to this outcome, and on its consequences for all businesses, both Cypriot and European.

According to the data recovered by our Italian Think Tank Imprese del Sud, there are 40 companies currently trading with Canada in Cyprus: the value of Cypriot exports to Canada is 41 million euros and 12 million euros is the value of Cyprus imports from Canada. A very favorable trade balance for Cyprus, which without CETA could risk to jump.

We would also like to highlight the paradox that has led some political forces not to ratify CETA after it was approved in Europe, based on fake news that unfortunately is also widespread in Italy, and which involves the protection of the agricultural products of our countries. We remind you that without this agreement even the prestigious Cypriot cheese “halloumi” will not be protected: without the obligations imposed by CETA, Canadians will be able to produce this cheese using the Cypriot symbols and flags in the packaging. And the same would happen for Italian and European products.

Another fundamental aspect to highlight is that CETA wasn’t just meant to agri-food sector, but for a wide range of interests: public procurement, protection of trademarks and patents, the liberal professions, just to give a few examples.

With this open letter, therefore, we are now calling on the Cypriot business and political forces that have understood the opportunities of CETA, but also the whole of Europe, to activate to save the trade agreement signed with Canada. This agreement, approved in 2017, has already produced great results in terms of exports for European countries, strengthening the interests of producers.

From our point of view, in order to save this treaty, if necessary, the possibility of excluding from the agreement the part relating to the agri-food sector, or at least the aspects of it considered most critical by opponents of CETA, could be considered.

Especially in a complicated period like this, where companies are “hungry for a revival”, we cannot afford to blow up such a deep and articulated free trade agreement because of the ostracism spread by one side of the economy. We are sorry for the many farmers who have understood the advantages of CETA, but if they are unable to influence their colleagues and the policy of prejudice, we might as well consider suspending the agreement in the agri-foodstuffs part and safeguarding all the opportunities created for manufacturing and numerous other sectors that boast excellence of Made in Italy to be valued in North America and throughout the world.

A greeting and a hug to all of you, in the hope of finding you at our side to continue to grow together and take advantage of the best opportunities that the world offers us.

About the author

Sergio Passariello – Ceo di Euromed International Trade e fondatore del Think Tank “Imprese del Sud”. 

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Main picture: Sergio Passariello. “foto tratta dall’Agenzia stampa Adnkronos”

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