Tag Archives: october 17

EU-Canada Free Trade Could Change U.S.-Canada Relations


Canada is moving toward a far-reaching free trade agreement with the European Union that advocates say will end a long-standing dependency on the U.S. market.

While the specifics of the agreement haven’t been discussed, Canadian and European officials could begin negotiating as soon as October 17, just three days after Canada’s federal election.

Canada’s Trade Minister, Michael Fortier and his staff have been in talks with EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and European government officials for the past two months. Recently a senior EU official involved said the talks aimed at starting “deep economic integration negotiations,” reported the Globe and Mail.

If the deal goes ahead, Canada would be the first developed country outside the EU to have the kind of access to those markets normally reserved for EU members.

“Its one of the best things we could do, the best thing we could do for our country,” said Jason Langrish, executive director of the Canada Europe Roundtable, a group working to promote Canada-Europe trade.

While critics of NAFTA, the free trade agreement Canada already has with the U.S., may denounce the agreement as only furthering the interests of large corporations, Langrish said that opposition will likely be less than there was to NAFTA.

“This is a very good way for us to offset our relationship with the U.S.”

Langrish said deeper integration with the EU would give Canadian exporters running into trouble with American protectionism another option. He said Canada often comes to the trade table with the U.S. with a weak hand because American officials know Canada has nowhere else to go.

He adds that we would be dealing with an economic block that has the same social and cultural values as Canada, such as state-funded healthcare.

Langrish also said it would give Canada a technological leg-up because we would get Europe’s green technology.

That could include tidal energy and wind technology, as well as public transport.

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Free trade Canada – Europe – Secret agreement in the works?


From Thursday’s Globe and Mail

LONDON — Canadian and European officials say they plan to begin negotiating a massive agreement to integrate Canada’s economy with the 27 nations of the European Union, with preliminary talks to be launched at an Oct. 17 summit in Montreal three days after the federal election.

Trade Minister Michael Fortier and his staff have been engaged for the past two months with EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and the representatives of European governments in an effort to begin what a senior EU official involved in the talks described in an interview yesterday as “deep economic integration negotiations.”

If successful, Canada would be the first developed nation to have open trade relations with the EU, which has completely open borders between its members but imposes steep trade and investment barriers on outsiders.

The proposed pact would far exceed the scope of older agreements such as NAFTA by encompassing not only unrestricted trade in goods, services and investment and the removal of tariffs, but also the free movement of skilled people and an open market in government services and procurement – which would require that Canadian governments allow European companies to bid as equals on government contracts for both goods and services and end the favouring of local or national providers of public-sector services.

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