MONTREAL -- A new study has found that the oil and mining industries are the big and only winners when it comes to trade with the EU two years after CETA was approved.

The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was approved in 2017 and was promoted as a tool to help small and medium-sized businesses.

However, a study by the socieconomic research group IRIS (Institut de recherche et d'informations socioeconomiques) found that Canada is importing more than it is exporting in all areas, with the exception of the energy industry.

"It is unthinkable that in 2019 the main economic benefits from CETA are related to fossil fuels," said IRIS researcher Guillaume Hébert. "Commercial development of mineral resources is also in Canada’s favour, another highly polluting industry. This is nothing to be proud of. Industries producing the most pollution are the only beneficiaries."

According to the report, Canada switched from importer to exporter over the past two years in the energy and mining sectors, while small and medium-sized business exports decreased by over 20 per cent, or $323 million, per month.

"One wonders what other advantages, other than those related to energy exports, Canadian authorities hoped to gain from this agreement. In practically all fields one finds a deterioration of the Canadian trade deficit," said Hébert.

Hébert's research shows large corporations are the big winners in CETA.

"One should understand that this agreement sets up a legal framework favouring the operations of transnational corporations," he said. "As we have seen in the past, companies can take legal action against Canada if environmental policies adopted are perceived as barriers to commerce. CETA has far-reaching results including consequences for democracy."