Roundtable Discussion: Women and Trade in the Context of CETA

Photo credit: Karen Trujillo


On the sidelines of the upcoming EU-Canada Summit in Montreal (Canada), the European Union Delegation to Canada and the WE EMPOWER programme of the European Union (EU), International Labour Organization and UN Women will host a roundtable discussion on trade and gender. The roundtable discussion will focus on the opportunities and challenges to increasing women’s participation in export and trade between Canada and the EU in the context of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.  


Trade and Gender

The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) eliminates barriers to trade and offers more opportunities to women in business in other markets. On the first anniversary of CETA, the CETA Joint Committee issued a recommendation regarding trade and gender. The EU and Canada agreed upon the following:

  • The importance of making trade policies more gender-responsive in order to ensure that the benefits of trade liberalisation reach everyone. 
  • The need to better understand the impact of trade on gender equality and women's participation in the economy. 
  • The collection of data by cooperating and sharing information. 


In the European Union

Gender equality in the context of international trade is an important priority within the EU's Trade for All strategy. Trade for All sets out a vision for a trade policy that is transparent and based on values. Since its inception, Trade for All has permitted considerable and concrete progress towards an effective, transparent and responsible trade policy. The policy is both responsive to economic challenges and opportunities. In 2019, advancing gender equality continues to build momentum in trade policy discussions. 


In Canada

Canada is strongly committed to supporting trade opportunities for women with an inclusive trade agenda. However, the benefits of trade continue to be subject to gender barriers. Women own 16 percent of all small- and medium-sized enterprises in Canada, and only 11 percent of such women-owned enterprises are active outside Canada. Further, only 2 percent of small and medium sized business in Canada that are either women-owned or women-led are exporting their products and services. Canada remains committed to supporting women so that they can grow and scale their businesses to take advantage of the benefits of CETA and other trade agreements.



13:00- 13:05 Welcome

13:05- 13:10: Opening Remarks - Commissioner Malmström

13:10 – 13:15: Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification

13:15- 14:15: Roundtable Discussion moderated by Anna Fälth, UN Women

Conversation will discuss strategies to overcome the three main barriers to trade experienced by women exporters:

  1. Limited access to capital – women business owners must have sufficient access to capital in order to begin international export
  2. Limited access to market information and networks
  3. Cultural biases and gender-based discrimination

14:15-14:20: Closing Remarks


Photo credit: Karen Trujillo

Additional resources

  1. The EU and Canada reiterate shared commitment to advance gender equality and women’s contributions to peace and security at the Women Foreign Minister’s meeting. European Union External Action rel="noopener noreferrer" Service
  2. Remarks by High Representative/Vice President Frederica Mogherini at the joint press conference following the women Foreign Minister’s meeting. European rel="noopener noreferrer" Union External Action rel="noopener noreferrer" Service
  3. Women going global: Q&A with Jennifer rel="noopener noreferrer" Cooke, Export Development rel="noopener noreferrer" Canada
  4. Webinar – G7 Success Stories under EU-Canada Comprehensive rel="noopener noreferrer" Economic and Trade Agreement. WE EMPOWER Programme of the EU, UN Women, ILO
  5. Benchmarking Small and Mediums Sized Enterprises as Suppliers to the Government rel="noopener noreferrer" of Canada, Inclusion, Innovation and International rel="noopener noreferrer" Trade. University of Ottawa and the Government of Canada
  6. Export Challenges: Women lack connections, confidence and capital to go global. Export Development Canada


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