Europe hopes to conclude Canada trade deal

TORONTO — The European Union and Canada hope to conclude a free trade deal in the “coming days,” EU and Canadian officials said Wednesday.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper posted on his official Twitter account that Canada will “soon” complete negotiations. Harper has long said a deal was close, but an official in his office says further progress has been made.

The EU went further.

“Discussions are indeed continuing at the highest level between the EU and Canada towards a comprehensive free trade deal (CETA) — with the hope to conclude the negotiations in the coming days,” EU Trade spokesman John Clancy said in an email.

Yves Leduc, director of international trade for the Dairy Farmers of Canada, said he’s been told by a Canadian government official that an agreement in principle has been reached and that the European Union’s 28 members and Canada’s 10 provinces have to approve it.

Canada has agreed to permit a doubling of the EU quota on cheese exports to Canada in exchange for greater access for Canadian beef and pork producers. Leduc said Canada’s cheese industry is angry, saying the deal threatens the fine cheese market in Canada.

“For the dairy farmers of Canada this is a deal that is unacceptable. We’re more than disappointed,” Leduc said. “It will allow significant access of high quality or fine cheeses into Canada, a segment that is supplied by the smaller or medium size cheese factors in Canada.”

Harper has said that a free trade deal between his country and the European Union could help the EU establish a beachhead as they embark on separate free trade talks with the U.S. If a U.S.-EU trade deal is reached, it could be the world’s largest free trade pact. Canada hopes to diversify Canada’s trade away from the U.S., the country’s largest trading partner. Canada’s finance minister has said despite Europe’s struggles, Canada remains very interested because the EU is still the largest market in the world in terms of the size of its middle class. The Canada-EU deal would make it easier for Canadian companies to invest in, and sell to, the 17-member EU with its 500 million consumers.

In 2012, Canada was the EU’s 12th most important trading partner, accounting for 1.8 percent of the EU’s external trade. The EU was Canada’s second biggest partner with about 9.5 percent of external trade.

The value of the bilateral trade in goods between the EU and Canada was $84 billion in 2012, according to the EU. The EU says machinery, transport equipment and chemicals dominate the EU’s exports to Canada.

The trade agreement, on which talks were first launched in 2009, seeks to lower or erase tariffs and facilitate mutual market access for trade in goods, services and investment. It aims at making it easier for companies to bid for government contracts in the other economy.

The trade negotiations with the U.S., in turn, are still in an early stage and suffered a minor setback last week when the U.S. side had to cancel a long-planned negotiation round in Brussels because of the government shutdown. About 100 officials were set to travel to Belgium for the talks. The next round is likely to take place next month.

More in Herald Business Journal

Happy accident leads Edmonds couple to make Hunniwater drink

The latest line of energy drinks by Karin and Eric… Continue reading

Single payer is no panacea for our costly health care system

We must address the cost of health care before designing an insurance system.

Voters are on the sidelines as the port fills a vacant seat

Troy McClelland resigned from the Port of Everett commission too late for an election before 2019.

Career Fair planned next week at Tulalip Resort Casino

The Snohomish County Career Fair is planned from 10 a.m. to 2… Continue reading

American Farmland Trust president to speak in Mount Vernon

American Farmland Trust President John Piotti plans to give a talk about… Continue reading

In new setback, Uber to lose license to work in London

The company, beset by litany of scandals, was told it was not “fit and proper” to keep operating there.

Not home? Walmart wants to walk in and stock your fridge

The retailer is trying out the service with tech-savvy shoppers who have internet-connected locks.

Trade panel: Cheap imports hurt US solar industry

The ruling raises the possibility of tariffs that could double the price of solar panels.

Agent joins Re/Max in Smokey Point

Dennis Roland joined the Re/Max Elite Smokey Point office. The Navy veteran… Continue reading

Most Read