EU strikes trade deal with Canada, looks to US
By Robin Emmott and Philip Blenkinsop, ReutersBRUSSELS/LUXEMBOURG--The European Union and Canada agreed a multi-billion-dollar trade pact on Friday that will integrate two of the world's largest economies and paves the way for Europe to clinch an even bigger deal with the United States.
October 19, 2013, 12:42 am TWN
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso sealed the pact — the EU's first with a member of the Group of Eight biggest world economies — by resolving outstanding issues in Brussels.
Launched in May 2009, the talks had been stalled for months over quotas for Canadian beef and EU cheese. In a cheeky touch, chefs served gorgonzola and feta at the four-course lunch laid on for the two leaders.
“This agreement is a landmark achievement for the transatlantic market,” Barroso told a news conference, flanked by Harper. “With political will and a good dose of hard work, there is a way to reach a result that benefits people on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said.
The deal marks a breakthrough for Brussels' free-trade agenda, which had previously achieved smaller agreements with South Korea and Singapore. It is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods and services by a fifth to 25.7 billion euros (US$35 billion) a year, according to the latest EU estimates.
Barroso said he hoped the agreement could come into effect from 2015, after EU governments, the European Parliament and the Canadian provinces give their blessing.