Trade officials from Canada and the European Union have reached a complete text on their long-haggled free trade deal, the federal government confirmed Tuesday.
The complete text allows for translation and final legal review to get underway, International Trade Minister Ed Fast said in a release.
Canada’s provincial and territorial governments have now received the complete text and have been “comprehensively briefed on its content” and on next steps, the government said.
Fast on Tuesday also announced he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper will lead a trade mission to the U.K. early next month.
The mission, Fast said, “will help Canadian businesses secure their first-mover advantages in the largest and most lucrative market in the world, even as translation and final legal review of the text proceeds.”
Planning is also underway for a Canada-EU summit to be hosted in Canada next month, the government said.
The government on Tuesday reiterated a Canada/EU pact would bring “significant benefit” for Canada including a 20 per cent boost in bilateral trade and a $12 billion increase in Canada’s annual income (GDP).
Out of over 9,000 EU tariff lines, about 98 per cent would become duty-free for Canadian goods when a Canada-EU pact comes into force.
Talks were first announced toward a trade pact in May 2009. However, negotiations bogged down in 2013 over issues such as the size of tariff-free quotas for EU cheeses in Canada, and for Canadian beef in the EU. [Related story]
The complete text follows last October’s agreement-in-principle on a Canada/EU trade deal, with endorsement in hand from all Canadian provinces and territories.
Reuters’ David Ljunggren on Tuesday quoted a source close to the talks as saying the text now heads to Canada’s provincial and territorial governments, and to the governments of the EU’s 28 member states, for their comments. — AGCanada.com Network