Friday

21st Jul 2017

EU edges toward Canada free trade deal

  • The EU has just four free trade deals with leading world economies (Photo: Jacob Earl)

EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht is to meet Canadian leader Stephen Harper as the EU executive steps up its bid to secure the latest in a series of lucrative free trade agreements.

De Gucht, who will meet Harper on Wednesday (6 February) is expecting to sign off on the EU/Canada deal within the coming weeks after four years of negotiations starting in 2009.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Although there had been hopes that final agreement would be reached before the end of 2012, the two sides are still haggling over Canadian beef and pork exports and quotas on EU cheese imports, as well as public procurement, vehicle parts and patent protection.

A paper by the European Parliament's research department says that the EU/Canada agreement could increase trade flows by 20 percent and create 80,000 new jobs in the EU. It would be Canada's biggest trade agreement since signing up to the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) in 1994.

De Gucht will also be in Washington for talks with the Obama administration with a view to formally launching trade talks with the US this week.

Political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have lined up to extol the potential benefits of an agreement.

Speaking at a security conference in Munich at the weekend, vice-president Joe Biden said that a trade deal would be “good for growth, job creation, and ... would strengthen our global trading system." He added that "the rewards for success are almost boundless."

Meanwhile, speaking with reporters in advance of this week's EU summit, UK Europe minister David Lidington described an EU/US trade deal as "a fantastic prize", adding that failure to pursue an agreement would be "betraying future generations."

Although tariffs between the two are relatively low, there remain disparities in regulations and technical standards on products

According to a study published in 2010 by the US chamber of commerce, eliminating remaining tariff barriers could boost trade by around €100 billion within five years. The European Commission, meanwhile, believes that a US deal could increase EU GDP by over 1 percent and could kick-start the stagnant European economy.

Following the collapse of the Doha round of talks at the World Trade Organisation, the EU has moved towards a series of bilateral trade deals in a bid to increase export opportunities for European companies and generate economic growth.

A deal with Singapore was concluded in December while talks with Japan, the world's second largest economy, are also being lined up in advance of the annual EU/Japan summit this spring.

EU free trade agreements are also expected to be discussed by leaders at this week's EU budget summit in Brussels.

In a letter to EU leaders circulated in advance of the summit, commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso described trade as "an essential lever in our strategy to boost growth and jobs in the EU. At a time of weak economic growth and essential fiscal consolidation, trade is making a vital contribution to our recovery."

The EU currently has around 30 trade agreements in force although so far only four - Mexico, South Africa, Turkey and South Korea - are with countries in the G20 bloc, which accounts for over 80 percent of the world's trade and over two thirds of the global population.

Speaking last week in Chile at a summit with Latin America and Caribbean countries, De Gucht sad that "Europe has the most ambitious trade liberalisation agenda in the world today."

Analysis

What chance an EU-US trade deal?

The relationship between the US and Europe has historically been about diplomacy. But in these economically-straitened times, the focus on foreign policy has shifted.

EU hails 'landmark' Canada trade deal

EU and Canadian leaders have signed up to a trade agreement worth over €25 billion per year, in a deal seen by Brussels as the forerunner to a successful trade accord with the US.

2015 target date for EU-US trade deal

EU and US negotiators want to have a transatlantic trade and investment deal in place by 2015, but French politicians are wary of the pact.

Opinion

Greece needs a new plan

Two years into its third bailout, Greece needs to combine the necessary fiscal targets with a new vision. This can be done in the context of the ongoing industrial revolution.

Opinion

Ceta and pesticides: A citizens' rights issue

The trade agreement with Canada will begin to apply on 21 September. But there is still a potential conflict on the right to data protection vs. the right to access information.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary