On a roll after getting closer to a trade agreement with South Korea, the EU is now beginning trade agreement talks with Canada.
The talks will cover investments and industry sectors excluded from previous agreements, making it potentially the most comprehensive bilateral trade agreement ever reached – wider than the EU-South Korea deal.
Talks will being in Ottawa on Monday, with the aims of finalizing the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, in 2011.
According to EuropeanVoice.com:
Hopes of success have been bolstered by the presence of Canada’s provinces, which have, in the past, been unenthusiastic about free trade with the EU. Their involvement is crucial, since it is the provinces that undertake the bulk of government procurement, a huge potential market for transatlantic trade. They also have wide competences in the labour market.
Earlier this year, the Council of the Federation, a conference of Canada’s provinces and territories, pledged to support trade talks with the EU. The council has a history of opposing public procurement provisions, such as those initially part of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
On 1 October, Jean Charest, the prime minister of Québec province and a member of Canada’s negotiating team, said that the participation of the provinces had convinced the EU that talks might succeed. The EU would like to use an agreement with Switzerland as a template for guaranteeing mutual open access to public procurement.
Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister, said after a meeting with Lawrence Cannon, his Canadian counterpart, on 1 October that the state of the world economy made a commitment to free-trade important.
Relations between the two sides are generally good but have been overshadowed this year by a Canadian decision to impose a visa requirement on Czech citizens and by a ban on seal products championed by the European Parliament.
Read more at EuropeanVoice.com: Talks to start on trade deal with Canada.