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EU, Canada agree free trade deal

brussels bureau

EU, Canada agree free trade deal


The EU and Canada have tentatively agreed a free trade deal after more than four years of negotiations.

It is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods and services by a fifth to 25.7 billion euros a year, according to the latest EU estimates.

The EU and Canada did more than 80 billion euros in such trade in 2012, according to Commission figures.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said it could set the tone for a similar deal planned with the US.

“Certainly, on our side, that we expect this agreement to set some standards also for other negotiations, including those with our American, United States friends. “

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the agreement would also be good news for consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Ninety eight percent of tariffs both ways will be removed immediately upon implementation of this agreement,” he told reporters, referring to the cut in duties on goods.

Differences over agriculture hampered the talks.

Canada demanded increased market access in Europe for its beef and pork, while boosting exports of Europe’s cheeses had been another of the main stumbling blocks.

But it is not just about lifting quotas and scrapping tarrifs on goods.

If approved by EU leaders, MEPs and Canada’s provinces, it would also make it easier for European companies to sell services in Canada and vice-versa.

Regulatory barriers that limit trade will also be scrapped.

For example Canada, will now recognise EU automotive standards.

The detailed text of the agreement is still to be made public.

Euronews’ Brussels correspondent James Franey concluded: “The EU-Canada deal is being seen as a blueprint for the recently launched free trade talks between Brussels and Washington; another example of how governments worldwide favour bilateral agreements on trade and investment.

It shows the pessimism that surrounds the chances of achieving a global deal through the World Trade Organisation, where talks have long been deadlocked.”

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