EU-Canada to sign free trade deal
After lengthy negotiations between the EU and Canada, the two sides are set to hold a final meeting on a free-trade agreement dubbed by the Canadian media to be the country's largest and most important international trade pact in a generation.
According to Germany's Ambassador to Canada, Werner Wnendt, some key issues still need to be discussed at an expert level before going to ministers for approval.
Once negotiations are complete, both sides would conduct a legal review of the text and hold ratification votes, including in the House of Commons and Senate in Canada, a process that is likely to take at least a few months.
When the deal will go into effect, it will immediately eliminate tariffs on approximately 98 percent of European goods in Canada. Such a measure will lead, according to analysts, to a three-to five-percent drop in the price of consumer goods ranging from European automobiles to clothing to coffee makers.
However, several Canadian provinces and major cities are worried that the deal will drive up the cost of pharmaceutical drugs and erode the autonomy of municipalities when awarding contracts for projects and services.
The agreement would give Canadian companies preferential access to a market of 500 million consumers in 27 member states.
| Commissioner De Gucht travels to Canada on FTA |
Wed 6 to Thu 7 Feb 2013