Cheaper wine, cheese and avocados: How trade deals impact the price of your favourite things

Cheese please
European cheeses could see a modest price re thanks to CETA, the Canada-European Union trade deal. Getty Images

Trade deals have been making constant headlines in recent months, largely due to Donald Trump‘s protectionist measures.

Canada has been making serious headway with CETA, its trade deal with the European Union. Trump has made it clear NAFTA will be negotiated, and as promised, he’s dealt a death blow to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

READ MORE: Imposing tariffs on US goods likely to increase costs for Canadian consumers

But trade deals are not just fodder for politicians to fight over. The deals can boost Canadian companies’ bottom lines, shrink the price tags of some common items, and overall strengthen a country’s economy.

Leaders must be aware of the pitfalls of closing their country’s borders to trade.

“You want to become poor as a country? It’s really easy. Rip up all your trade agreements,” said Ian Lee, professor at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University.

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Here’s a few things that could be negatively affected by various trade deals.


A picture shows bananas on sale at a market in London on February 23, 2014.

Everyday foods Canadians hold dear like bananas could zoom up in price should Canada take retaliatory actions if NAFTA falls apart. For the time being, Canada enjoys free trade with Mexico and the U.S., where much of the fresh produce we buy grows.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland warned U.S. officials that Canada was prepared to impose tariffs on U.S. imports should our southern neighbour do so on Canadian goods first.


The wildly popular avocado

Problem is, tariffs are essentially a tax that is applied to goods coming into Canada by Canada — which Canadians pay for, said Lee.

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“If there’s a trade war we can make it worse by imposing tariffs on American goods coming into Canada: Avocados, grapes, bananas, doesn’t matter. It will fall on Canadians,” said Lee.


 Children under age 5 could choke on grapes and similarly-shaped foods, and parents should cut them in half or quarters to reduce the risk, Scottish doctors say.

“What these trade agreements are trying to do is create a common set of rules, and they typically involve reducing barriers to trade,” Lee said.

“The richest countries in the world trade the most. The poorest countries in the world trade the least.”

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Conversely, there are a few things that could get cheaper thanks to our trade agreements.


In this picture taken Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, Benedikt Zacherl spokesperson of sparkling wine manufacturer Schlumberger fills two glasses with sparkling wine in Vienna, Austria.

Tariffs slapped on some of the finer things like European wine could be reduced for Canadians thanks to CETA.

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Cheese please

Cheese is another commodity that could decrease in price, according to Lee.

In return, Canadian exports should benefit from Europe’s more than 500 million people living in high-income countries; that’s some serious buying power.

 Luxury cars

Mercedes-Benz luxury cars fuel fat profits at Daimler

Luxury cars — such as German brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz — should also see a modest price reduction as a result of CETA, Lee said.

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