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Thursday, May 07, 2009

More on the Canada-EU trade agreement

Back in October the Shotgun reported here and here on a possible trade agreement between Canada and the European Union as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

These talks are back in the news - this time in the Globe and Mail. Quebec now wants in the deal, demanding a role for the provinces in negotiations, and Newfoundland demands that the deal only go forward if the EU lifts its ban on seal products. Luckily, Harper's got his eye on the ball:

Mr. Harper said yesterday that his government is vigorously defending the sealing industry both domestically and internationally, but also said he would not allow Europe's ban on seal products to "contaminate" a potential trade deal.

"It is important that in any relationship, but particularly in a mature and complex commercial relationship like ours, that we not allow a dispute on one issue to contaminate our relations on a whole bunch of other things," he said during a news conference at the conclusion of a one-day summit between Canada and the EU.

"If we were to make our trade relations with the European Union only the sealing issue, we will never have any trading relations because as we know this is a disagreement of long standing, one of which I suspect we may never see eye to eye," he added.


It's hoped a deal, which will seek accord in areas such as labour mobility, customs procedures, food safety, sustainable development and goods, could be signed within a year.

Stockwell Day announced that a free trade agreement with the EU - Canada's second largest trading partner - would translate into an increase of $12 billion in exports and thousands of jobs. I'm not sure about the numbers, but he's right in saying that the impact of this agreement would be unambiguously positive.

I've been critical of the Harper government on a lot of issues but I've been fairly pleased with their performance on trade - or at least proliferating Canada's free trade relationships.They deserve more praise and encouragement here.

This trade agreement is something that all Canadians and EU members should look forward to... even the Newfies!

Posted by Janet Neilson on May 7, 2009 | Permalink


I doubt very much if us "Newfies" will benefit much from the trade deals. Unless of course Ottawa is bartering our resources once again to benefit Ontario industry.

Posted by: Newfie2 | 2009-05-07 7:06:57 PM

Newfie2 is right.
And what is it that Europe has to offer that we don't have here or need so much. Harper is acting behind closed doors once again and each time he does that, we lose something.

Posted by: Marc | 2009-05-07 8:37:49 PM

Harper always operates behind closed doors...he's a politician right?

Posted by: JC | 2009-05-07 10:11:30 PM

"Mr. Harper said yesterday that his government is vigorously defending the sealing industry both domestically and internationally, but also said he would not allow Europe's ban on seal products to "contaminate" a potential trade deal."

Talk about speaking with a forked tongue. (You know, meaning to say one thing and mean another or, in more general terms, to back-stab.

Posted by: Quebec1 | 2009-05-07 10:18:15 PM

Interesting article Janet. Ideally a trade deal is not required though. Trade deals basically describe only what is not allowed. Free trade requires no such deal.

Posted by: TM | 2009-05-07 11:04:36 PM

If free trade involves both goods and services, that is one thing. If it involves free movement of workers it will have to be very carefully managed.

Posted by: DML | 2009-05-07 11:47:32 PM

My understanding is that we already had free trade with the EU for everything except agricultural goods; and, why would you ever want free trade with that? Basic economics "Agricultural goods are the prime basis of all economies". With free trade, governments lose all rights to maintain it. Everybody must lose.
Also, the EU continously ignores our government officials, thus breaking free trade on seal products and interfering with our economy. Then, they still insist on fishing rights in our waters, and still rape our fish stocks. Why do we allow this bulling and those rights to continue? Our government should do something to end those rights sometime down the road, so as they do not continue for ever.

Posted by: pater maxwell | 2009-05-08 1:57:45 PM

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