EU and Canada agree trade deal
18.03.04 @ 17:52
BRUSSELS - The EU and Canada today agreed to bolster trade and investment ties.
Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern (the current EU President), Commission President Romano Prodi and foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, met with the Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin today in Ottawa.
It was Mr Martin's first EU-Canada summit since taking over from the long-serving prime minister Jean Chretien last winter.
On coming to office in December, it was speculated that Mr Martin would naturally focus more on the US and less on Europe in comparison with his predecessor - who was known for his sometimes critical views of Washington.
However, the Canadian government is keen to show that bilateral ties with Europe are still vital to Canada's interests.
Writing in today's Globe and Mail the Canadian Ambassador to the European Union described ties as taking on increasing importance.
"The Canada-EU partnership has its own increasing importance, in part because of the business we do together, but also because we share a special multilateral vocation".
"The EU relationship complements and supports our efforts to consolidate and strengthen our very complex and vital relationship with the United States".
In an effort to boost these ties, the two sides agreed to ease barriers to investment and other trade obstacles.