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EU & Canada Free Trade Deal: Huh?

February 8, 2009

EU & Canada Free Trade Deal: Huh?

Was reading the less-than-stellar analysis of Globe Opinion writer Jeffrey Simpson the other day when I noticed this little gem:

France and Canada are on the same wavelength on issue after issue, including Afghanistan and trade (Canada and the European Union are entering serious talks about a free-trade agreement). They both opposed the invasion of Iraq.

Canada and EU free trade deal? I read a lot of news so I was wondering why I hadn't seen more of this before.

A quick google search found a couple of news pieces here, here and here about the issue, but this could potentially be major.

I'm no fan of free trade and think NAFTA should be abolished, but do believe in the benefits of fair trade as long as never-ending growth isn't part of the deal.

Canada's trade has been almost entirely dependent on the US since colonization. Would a free trade agreement with the EU mean less dependence? Would Canadian standards plummet on certain issues? What would the impacts on social justice, the tar sands, mining and other issues be?

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Canada's largest trading

Canada's largest trading partner until the 1930s was Great Britain, not the USA.

Canada-EU FTA & EFTA

Hi Geordie, thanks for posting this.

You link out to two different FTAs above. First is the proposed Canada-EU deal, second is the much more advanced Canada-EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

My understanding is that the main sector that would be affected by the EFTA is the shipbuilding industry. You can read the government report on the EFTA, including the dissenting opinion of the NDP, here.

That blog entry in Macleans that you linked to about the Canada-EU deal is actually quite informative.

Also, parliament discussed the Canada EU deal & the EFTA a couple of days ago. Stockwell Day, International Trade Minister:

There is a broader platform and picture that needs to be taken into account, because we are talking about engaging these four entities [Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland]. However, for us, this is an entry and lever into the broader EU community for an eventual and much hoped for Canada-EU free trade agreement. This is something we are zeroing in on, something we have been discussing for some time. The Czech Republic has the presidency of the EU for the next six months. I was in Prague last month and I talked to officials there. I made it clear that we were ambitious on that score. We made that point with the European Commission as well. On another free trade area, being the EU area, we are very ambitious and are working toward the conclusion of discussions to get a formal framework in place to start that process.