At the Conference of NCTM Law Firm in Rome, on the 25th of October, it was held the seminar “The Strategic and Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Canada: the SPA and the CETA” organized by the Centro Studi Italia-Canada in collaboration with Confassociazioni Comunicazione in favor of Lazio Association of Journalists, who entered the event in their training programs.
“more information could help Italian entrepreneurs to benefit more from CETA”,
these are the words of Mr. Paolo Quattrocchi - a member of Nctm Law Firm, Vice-President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada-West, founder and director of the Centro Studi Italia-Canada - addressing an audience of over 40 journalists regularly accredited to the event.
"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, except that, 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."
This is the key message of the speech of Mr. Quattrocchi at the seminar. From the SPA to CETA, from Canada to Italy, the director explains how the strategic partnership agreement (SPA) is part of a global context rich in issues that constitute the foundations on which the two contracting parties are based, proposing themselves as the alternative to more "offensive" alliances. The intervention outlined the economic profile of this partnership, contained in CETA, which creates ample opportunities for Italian companies and for its internationalization, as well as the profit derived from the export of the goods they produce - in growth as shown by an analysis official data on trade between the parties - in addition to the resources of which both Canada and Italy are rich.
Explain the benefits but also the doubts on some provisions of the agreement, in matters of intellectual property and dispute resolution (this is out of the provisional execution of the agreement): this is the purpose of the seminar, in the role of example of how “training activity is essential at this stage, as a time when it is certainly more useful to examine together and inform about the measures of this agreement rather than simply undermine its implementation. An agreement that is, undoubtedly, increasing the revenues of our companies by reducing the costs of interchange operations and encouraging the participation of Italian companies in Canadian tenders at both the federal, provincial and municipal levels, as well as the additional issues contained in the agreement.
Talking about intellectual property was Mr. Bernard O'Connor, and Mr. Luca Guidobaldi, belonging to the Department of Intellectual Property NCTM Law Firm. Mr. O'Connor was responsible for IP issues related to agri-food products, underlining the importance of the recognition of the geographical indications of Italian products by Canada - 41 indications on the 143 European recognized are Italian - which has no knowledge of the Institute for designations of origin and that has taken this step, favorable to us, also to have greater control over the counterfeiting of goods and to counteract the so-called Italian Sounding. CETA does not change the quality of products, it does not have control over goods but it facilitates Italian exporters through the elimination of duties and the authorization for the entry of products that previously could not enter the Canadian market because they lacked recognition. Mr. O'Connor dedicated a particular study to the delicate issue related to the export of dairy products to Canada, putting the audience apart from the delicate issues related to the increase in the entrance fees of Italian cheeses in Canada making it clear how the increase in quotas does not automatically lead to the growth of Italian exports in Canada that remains subject to the difficult laws of the market: these are the issues on which it is opportune to stop and discuss trying to resolve them in this phase prior to ratification rather than dealing with problems that are not such.
Mr. Guidobaldi, on the other hand, illustrated to the participants the additional important topics on which CETA intervened in the field of intellectual property, beyond the provisions relating to Geographical Indications and agri-food products. The focus of the intervention concerned, on the one hand, on the patent rules on pharmaceutical products, and on the other, on the rules on copyright, explaining how CETA can have a significant impact, thanks to these forecasts, both in the pharmaceutical-medical sector and in the media sector. In the first case, CETA has imposed Canada to provide the so-called, "patent restoration term", already familiar in Europe, to ensure that pharmaceutical companies can obtain a longer term of protection for their drugs (up to 2 years more) when the administrative procedure has been particularly long and complex, delaying its placing on the market. This prediction is undoubtedly to the benefit of the industry, which thanks to CETA will have a further advantage: for what concerns medical devices, CETA imposes a mechanism of mutual recognition of certifications and standards, to be implemented through the adoption of a "Protocol of Compliance" common to the EU and Canadian certifying authorities, which will further facilitate trade (already up, in terms of European exports to Canada, of 10%). As far as the provisions on copyright are concerned, the agreement provides for the harmonization of a whole series of rules to enhance the protection of the record and audiovisual industry (in particular producers of media reproducing protected works or live performances), live artistic performances (also in terms of so-called fair compensation) and protection of rights in the internet environment.
At the end of the seminar, the speech by Mr. Angelo Anglani, an expert in the dispute settlement field at Nctm Law Firm, who has been involved in examining the controversial provisions contained in CETA which have created some problems for the final procedure of the Agreement: the new dispute resolution mechanism (ICS - Investment Court System) through permanent tribunals (with special rules for the composition of these courts) and with the possibility of appeal. This part of the Agreement, on the one hand, was one of the reasons why the Agreement was given the "mixed" nature and consequently the need for ratification by each Member State, on the other, precisely because of the polemics that the argument created, it was decided in the implementation phase to exclude it from the provisional execution and to make it the object of clarification and better detail, as well as study, given the choice made. Mr. Anglani, after making a brief and clear analysis of how and why the dispute resolution system was implemented and structured as it is, explained how CETA intends to "structure" the resolution of disputes between the State and the private investor, keeping in mind the criticisms of the system up to now existing and drawing as much advantage as possible from the experience of the past. Mr. Anglani emphasized the choice of EU and Canada to promote the creation of a multilateral investment court (with an appeal mechanism) in the near future, highlighting how deep international reflection is taking place on the instruments to ensure the investment protection, in which EU and Canada have already taken a determined direction.
At the outcome of the meeting, a tight question time gave way to the journalists to clarify some of the topics that were treated. The seminar expressed the usefulness of reporting information to who reports the information on an issue that has generated sporadic peaks of political and public interest because it still under consideration by the technical commissions, but must be brought on the tables of those who do business, those who produce our wealth and is therefore able to sniff the benefits this agreement achieves.
CETA has been ratified by 10 European countries for a year, while Canada has ratified it with the federal Law Bill C-30: we inform and train the business class in order to take full advantage of it.
In this regard, the Centro Studi Italia-Canada will be rapporteur, together with Nctm Law Firm, at a conference organized by Assolatte to be held in Milan on 5 November, while the next event organized by the same Centro Studi Italia-Canada in partnership with Confindustria, the International Chamber of Commerce and Nctm Law Firm, will be held at the Confindustria headquarters in Rome on 21 November.