Canada International Relations – Trade (2013-14)

Written by  //  November 11, 2014  //  Canada, Trade & Tariffs  //  Comments Off on Canada International Relations – Trade (2013-14)

Government of Canada: Canada’s Free Trade Agreements
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)


11 November
The ‘Saudi Arabia of milk’ pushes Canada to open its dairy market
Stephen Harper begins a second Pacific Rim trip this month in New Zealand, a natural ally on nearly every topic except for Canada’s heavily sheltered dairy industry, where the small country that’s been dubbed the “Saudi Arabia of milk” is hoping regional free-trade talks will pry open Canadian markets.
10 November
Canada faces a familiar pressure in Trans-Pacific trade talks
(Globe & Mail) Canada, the United States and the 10 other countries insist they are closer than ever to a massive Asia-Pacific free trade deal.
But closer does not mean a final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is imminent. A year-end deadline for striking a deal is expected to pass without agreement in spite of fresh optimism expressed this week by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders meeting in Beijing. That’s because the toughest elements of the TPP remain unresolved, including the contentious area of market access for agricultural products.
8 November
Irwin Cotler: Canada, Hold China Accountable For Its Suppression of Human Rights
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s trip to China is understandably engaged with Canada-China trade relations, investments, and — in particular — the hope to build closer economic ties with Canada’s number two trading partner.
As well, on the eve of his trip, a senior government official was quoted as saying that the Prime Minister will raise China’s human rights record during his discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Indeed, the time is propitious for raising such issues as the Chinese President himself recently expressed his commitments to the rule of law, constitutionalism, and China’s international legal obligations.
5 November
Glavin: The indelicate and unmentionable things about trade missions to China
(Ottawa Citizen) It’s always about “strengthening ties and strategic partnerships,” “deepening economic cooperation,” “encouraging investment,” “building relationships” and “opening up opportunities,” experts say, while expertly and reliably occluding all the sordid complicities, obsequies and outright hogwash they’re talking about by not actually talking about them.
11 October
World Is Watching Canada And EU Iron Out Trade-Deal Kinks: WTO Head
(Canadian Press via HuffPost) WTO chief Roberto Azevedo shared his thoughts about the Canada-EU pact in a recent interview and weighed in on concerns that some European countries might still try to sink the agreement. Azevedo said obstacles in Canada-EU negotiations are to be expected, plus he believes they can provide teaching moments for trading nations around the globe. … European diplomats said there was concern Romania and Bulgaria could prevent its ratification if Canada failed to lift visa requirements for travellers from the two countries.
The discontent followed reports that surfaced in the summer and again this fall about opposition in Germany to an investor-state dispute-settlement mechanism, which would give corporations the right to sue for damages stemming from new legislation that hurts their bottom lines.
19 September
Analysis FIPA agreement with China: What’s really in it for Canada?
Canadian government has been playing down domestic objections to investment agreement with China
(CBC) Critics of the agreement, such as Gus Van Harten, an Osgoode Hall law professor who has written two books on investment treaties, raise several key objections:

  • Canadian governments are locked in for a generation. If Canada finds the deal unsatisfactory, it cannot be cancelled completely for 31 years.
  • China benefits much more than Canada, because of a clause allowing existing restrictions in each country to stay in place. Chinese companies get to play on a relatively level field in Canada, while maintaining wildly arbitrary practices and rules for Canadian companies in China.
  • Chinese companies will be able to seek redress against any laws passed by any level of government in Canada which threaten their profits. Australia has decided not to enter FIPA agreements specifically because they allow powerful corporations to challenge legislation on social, environmental and economic issues. Chinese companies investing heavily in Canadian energy will be able seek billions in compensation if their projects are hampered by provincial laws on issues such as environmental concerns or First Nations rights, for example.
  • Cases will be decided by a panel of professional arbitrators, and may be kept secret at the discretion of the sued party. This extraordinary provision reflects an aversion to transparency and public debate common to the Harper cabinet and the Chinese politburo.
  • Differences between FIPA and the North American Free Trade Agreement may offer intriguing loopholes for American lawyers to argue for equal treatment under the principle of Most Favoured Nation.

17 September
7 Things Harper Doesn’t Want You To Know About The China Trade Treaty (And A Few He Does)
The Canada-China FIPA isn’t a complete trade deal. It’s more like one chapter of a trade deal — the chapter that deals with protecting investors’ rights.
Under these agreements, foreign companies gain the right to sue the host country in an international tribunal that doesn’t answer to national courts. Critics say this essentially gives foreign companies the ability to trump Canadian laws.
True, but under the Canada-China FIPA, a Chinese investor or business will have to prove they were subjected to different rules than would apply to a local investor or business. That strongly limits the extent to which Canadian laws can be challenged at the tribunals, and Canada’s ability to pass environmental and other laws likely won’t be as constrained as critics say. Canada will still be able to reject major investments from Chinese Supporters of the Canada-China FIPA say Canada needs a deal like this with China because we are running a $30-billion-a year trade deficit with the country. To get our money back, we need Chinese investment, and the FIPA gives investors the confidence they need to put their money here.
15 September
Harper’s Sneaky, Undemocratic, Terrible Deal with ChinaFIPA signing
Why the sudden ratification of FIPA is sparking startled outrage across Canada.
(The Tyee) In the world of official government announcements, a two-paragraph media release sent out in the late afternoon on the Friday before Parliament resumes sitting is the best way for a government to admit, “We know this is really, really unpopular, but we’re doing it anyway.”
That’s the way the Harper government, by way of a release quoting International Trade Minister Ed Fast, announced that it had decided to ignore widespread public opposition; parliamentary opposition from the NDP, Greens and even lukewarm Liberal criticism; an ongoing First Nations legal challenge; even division at its own cabinet table and from grassroots membership; and proceed with the ratification of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).
With China’s ratification of the deal long since signed, sealed and delivered (and, really, when you can convince another government to sign a deal this lopsided in your favour, wouldn’t you ratify as quickly as possible too?) Canada’s ratification of the deal means it will enter into force on Oct. 1. And once that happens, we’ll be locked into the terms of FIPA for a minimum of 31 years. That’s right, even if a new government is formed after the election next year and they choose to back out of FIPA, the next seven Canadian governments will be bound by the consequences of Harper’s poor negotiations.
29 August
Canada’s Free Trade Needs Some Work
Dan Kelly, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)
(HuffPost) The current Agreement on Internal Trade, which was a good start in its day, is dramatically out-of-date, and does not go nearly far enough in addressing key trade barriers that are holding Canadian small businesses back from exploring opportunities next door.
… Federal Industry Minister James Moore is working very hard to build some momentum. Also, the New West Partnership between BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan gives us some practical principles — like mutual recognition of the other province’s regulations.
And of course, modern free trade agreements, like CETA, give our provincial leaders a model for a new – or at the very least substantially improved — Agreement on Internal Trade.
I’m hopeful that significant progress can be made on both reducing barriers to trade among Canadian provinces AND cutting obstacles to international trade. It really shouldn’t be easier or less expensive for a company in London, England to do business with a firm in Manitoba than it is for a company in London, Ontario.
6 August
John Baird: Where the puck is going
The simple fact is that Canada cannot rely solely on a few huge partners for our economic wellbeing. That’s why Prime Minister Stephen Harper and I have made it a priority to foster beneficial relationships with the economies of the future. To paraphrase “The Great One”, we’re looking at where the puck is going, not where it is.
For Canada, one of the most important countries down-ice is Indonesia, where I landed this week for my fourth visit since becoming foreign minister.
31 July
Glitches in trade pact with EU could hurt Harper badly
(Globe & Mail) There was a glossy brochure. A press conference. That Canada-EU trade deal was done in principle last fall, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told us. And then reports this week that Germany has qualms showed just how unfinished the deal is.
Berlin’s concerns are about the investor-state dispute-settlement provisions, features that are a bit like the controversial clauses in the North American Free Trade Agreement which allow companies to sue governments for transgressions of their market-access rights. … What happened? It’s not that Germans suddenly started to worry about Canadian companies taking them to court. It’s that they started to think about their next trade negotiation, with the United States, and worried that the Canadian deal would lock them into a precedent. A consultation paper on the U.S. trade negotiations, released in May, discussed the options for investment provisions by pointing what had been negotiated with Canada.
28 July
Canada and Germany deny report that EU trade deal in trouble
Newspaper says Germany prepared to ‘scuttle’ CETA trade deal, but German government denies that
(CBC) Canadian officials are quietly preparing a ceremony to formally mark the successful conclusion of EU trade deal negotiations, but Germany says it’s too early to know what the final text will look like.
Officials acknowledge the negotiations aren’t quite completed, but International Trade Minister Ed Fast’s office said Monday “excellent progress is being made.”
A German newspaper kicked off of a flurry of speculation over the weekend by quoting unnamed German officials saying Europe’s leading economy would refuse to sign the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada due to certain contentious provisions concerning investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) regulations.
4 May
Saving the Trans Pacific Partnership — HOW CANADA CAN STEP UP, OR STEP ASIDE
Jack Hughes

(Policy Magazine May/June 2014) With the successful negotiation of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, Prime Minister Harper has secured historic preferential access to a key Asian market.
Yet the agreement’s true significance may be that it provides Canada with the bargaining power to determine the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership. With US leadership distracted by domestic political considerations and potentially hamstrung by the absence of fast-track authority from Congress, Canada has a unique role to play in the negotiations.
24 March
Un Québec indépendant devrait renégocier un accord avec l’Europe, dit Johnson
(La Presse) Un Québec indépendant n’adhérerait pas automatiquement à l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG) Canada – Union européenne. C’est ce que croit le négociateur du Québec, l’ex-premier ministre péquiste Pierre-Marc Johnson.
M. Johnson rappelle qu’un problème similaire se pose actuellement avec l’Écosse, qui organisera un référendum sur son indépendance l’automne prochain. Jose Manuel Barosso, le président de la commission européenne, a déclaré publiquement il y a quelques semaines que l’adhésion à l’UE d’une l’Écosse indépendante «ne serait pas automatique», a-t-il dit.
11 March
With South Korean deal, Canada secures free-trade foothold in Asia
(Globe & Mail) Canada’s first free-trade pact with an Asian nation promises to offer beef farmers, salmon fishermen and whisky makers a new toehold in South Korea by sweeping away virtually all border taxes in coming years. But it fails to secure some of the protections sought by vocal opponents in the auto industry, who immediately said Ottawa gave away too much.
Under the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement concluded in Seoul on Tuesday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, both countries pledged to eliminate duties on 98 per cent of all goods. More than nine years and 14 bargaining rounds in the making, the deal offers what Mr. Harper called an open door “to the lucrative Asia-Pacific market for Canadian businesses.” For Seoul, it is the latest in a free-trade network that includes the United States, the European Union and Australia that is positioning South Korea as a potent new trade hub in northern Asia.
Harper slams Ford Canada’s stance on free-trade deal
Ford’s local president Dianne Craig has been among the most vocal critics of the deal, which she said gives the industry insufficient protection from Korean car makers. Concluded in Seoul on Tuesday, the Canada-Korea free-trade agreement promises to sweep away 98 per cent of the duties on goods that flow between the two countries, including cars.
But far more South Korean cars come to Canada than the other way around, and Ms. Craig, in a statement Monday, said the deal did not do enough to undo South Korean “non-tariff” barriers that include the use of currency markets to subsidize exports.
John Ibbitson: Harper’s Trade Deal Overshadows Quebec Elections
(CIGI online) An independent Quebec would be crippled from the outset by debt and, worst of all, would have no preferred access to North American, European or Pacific markets. Leaving Canada would surrender the future for the sake of a mythical past. It would be economic suicide.
That, at least, is what millions of Westerners and suburban Ontarians might say to their brothers and sisters in Quebec, if you could get them to pay attention. But you can’t. They have much better things to do. They’re chasing the future.
13 January
Tories Seek Consultant To Help Auto Industry In Free Trade Talks
The Harper government wants to hire an outside consultant to give strategic advice on how it can negotiate free trade agreements that are advantageous to the auto sector.
The consultant would be paid up to $420,000 for three years to provide Canadian trade negotiators strategic advice on how to get the best deal possible for makers of cars, buses, and heavy trucks.
The federal government solicited bids for the contract on Monday, citing the fact that is moving forward with free trade talks on a number of fronts, including two countries with thriving auto industries: South Korea and Japan.
The government’s statement of work says it wants a consultant to provide “an analysis of Canada’s trade interests, identify risks and opportunities associated with potential trade agreements, and provide strategic and economic advice in the context of Canadian manufacturing industries.”


27 November
Marc Garneau: Outstanding issues with expanding Chinese trade
(Embassy Magazine) A more transparent, collaborative and inclusive process is desirable for numerous reasons: the Chinese will know what we are looking for; and Canadian citizens, who, after all, are the final arbiters on any deal, will be more engaged. We should not wait until negotiations are underway before seeking the involvement of Canadians. Creating a road map would be one way to encourage this involvement.
In summary, as we engage on the issue of expanding trade with China, there are outstanding issues that we must consider. We must provide clarity on our foreign investment rules and build trust through consistent, constructive engagement. Ultimately, it is in both Canada’s and China’s interests to strengthen our trading relationship.
15 November
Harper debates ‘biggest’ trade deal with Mulroney watching
Prime Minister Stephen Harper compares Canada-EU trade agreement with Mulroney’s NAFTA deal
29 October
Government ministers fan out across Canada to promote EU trade deal
On Tuesday (October 29), in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Harper tabled a 26 page technical summary of the agreement.
(RCI) With the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Canada will have access to more than 500 million consumers, and most trade tariffs will be dropped.
But critics worry about the impact on a wide variety of Canadian industries and such activities as Canadian dairy farming. Others are concerned that the agreement will give French companies Suez and Veolia access to run water services for profit in Canada.
Other critics are concerned by the impact of business dispute clauses that would allow Canadian and European companies to challenge government regulations that impede their businesses.
Since the announcement of the agreement, government ministers have fanned out across Canada to promote the agreement to Canadians.
25 October
Jeffrey Simpson: Free-trade forecasts are always foggy
From a long-term point of view, this deal is geopolitically important because of the risk of being left isolated if (and it’s a big if) the EU and the United States negotiate their own trade deal. If for no other reason, this alone makes the deal worth doing for Canada, as long as everyone understands that the advantages will be both oversold and overcriticized for political reasons.
22 October
L. Ian MacDonald: EU trade deal is a huge win for Harper
until the Americans do a deal with Europe, Canadian businesses will have a competitive advantage over U.S. firms in access to European markets.
Meantime, Canada will be the only G7 country to have privileged access to the world’s two largest markets, the EU and the U.S. That gives Harper bragging rights around the G20 table, as well. …
Harper knew he had the support of all the provinces. Not that Ontario and Quebec weren’t worried about their dairy farmers. Ontario was also concerned about the higher cost of prescription drugs because of patent protections being extended by two years to fend off generic drugs. Ottawa’s response was simple — don’t worry about it, we’ll look after it. Dairy farmers will be compensated. Provinces will have higher drug costs covered.
This is a very different federal-provincial context than existed for the Canada-U.S. FTA, which was strenuously opposed by then Ontario premier David Peterson. For the Canada-EU Round, the provinces have been at the table all along. Indeed, the initiative began with the provinces when Jean Charest proposed it to the Council of the Federation, and Harper took it from there.
It’s a huge breakthrough that government procurement will be open to EU bids at all levels of government — federal, provincial and municipal. And this in a country where there are still significant barriers to interprovincial trade, known as BITs. In return, the European government-procurement market of $2.7 trillion in products and services will be open to Canadian business. How big is that? It’s 50 per cent larger than Canada’s GDP of $1.8 trillion.
21 October
CETA-EN CETA is a big win for Harper, but not a political panacea
It could not have come at a better time, from a Tory political perspective. Nevertheless it may not be enough to get the governing party re-elected in two years’ time. The reason is Canada’s newly monochromatic political culture, in which everyone agrees, more or less, about everything that matters.
18 october
CETA: Canada-EU free trade deal lauded by Harper, Barroso
Harper hails agreement as ‘historic win for Canada’
(CBC) Under the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and NAFTA, Canada will have preferential access to more than half of the world’s economy.
The agreement in principle also provides for working groups to look at non-tariff barriers — regulations on health and sanitation, for example — that interfere with trade.
The sweeping free trade deal with the 28-member European Union — which has a total population of 500 million and generates $17 trillion in annual economic activity — covers everything from cars to food to intellectual property.
Andrew Coyne: With his EU trade deal, Stephen Harper finally has a real consumer charter
If the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union is unlikely to encounter much serious opposition, that is in part a tribute to how well the ground has been prepared, notably in getting the provinces onside. It could all as easily have gone nowhere.
17 October
Danielle Goldfarb: Closing the Canada-EU deal
(OpenCanada) Canadians should take a few steps back from these headline issues to think about the broader global context. Here are three reasons we should care about this deal that don’t typically make the headlines:
1. Canada needs to find other markets than the United States. With a small domestic market, Canada depends on global opportunities to improve our living standards. Historically, we have relied on our commercial relationships with the U.S. to do so. But Canada’s trade with the U.S. has completely flat-lined over the past decade. … The EU market is larger than the U.S., and our trade and investment relationships are significant and growing, according to our forecasts. In fact, we export more products to the EU than to China, India, and Brazil combined.
2. Canadian companies won’t be at a disadvantage. With a Canada-EU deal, this country’s businesses will gain an advantage in the EU market over firms from other countries (like the US) that still face tariff and other trade barriers in the EU – or at least will not be at a disadvantage relatives to companies from countries that have signed a deal with the EU.
3. This helps Canada open doors to markets beyond the EU.
Harper takes on cheese lobby to win free trade with Europe
New Canada-E.U. trade deal to be unveiled Friday
(CBC) NAFTA was never like this. Instead of the anguished, existential debate over free trade with the U.S., the deal with Europe never broke out of the business pages during the long four years of negotiations. Fretting about cheese quotas just didn’t capture the imagination the way that fretting about Canada’s sovereign identity did.
Even so, on his trip earlier this month to Southeast Asia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper described free trade with Europe as “the most important priority” of his government.
Jeremy Kinsman
(Policy Options) Canada is embarking on a welcome national trade expansion and diversification project, in part because of a threat of declining rewards in the US market. The project needs to be about more than promoting trade. Its success requires Canada to project abroad a compelling national “brand” that draws from our character and successful record as a modern, internationalist, North American, inclusive democracy. Consistency in supporting human rights defence world-wide is also part of the brand, and should not stand in the way of expanding business ties, including in China. (September 2012)

freetrade940 Negotiations and Agreements
The Government of Canada is committed to creating the most favourable conditions for Canadian businesses to compete internationally. Free trade agreements (FTAs) and foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) between Canada and our trading partners are creating new opportunities for Canadian businesses. By ensuring greater protection against discriminatory and arbitrary practices, and enhancing the predictability of a market, FTAs and FIPAs provide a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace.

Japan-Canada – Don’t forget about Japan
Canada needs to see Asia as consisting of more than China, and to recognize that Japan remains a formidable force in the global economy. Deeper engagement with Japan offers the prospect of a partner for the shared journey of coming to grips with this century’s economic and strategic challenges. It is an opportunity Canada should not miss.
(Policy Options July 2013) There is certainly awareness of the potential to expand the Canada-Japan trade and investment relationship. Two rounds of negotiations have already taken place on a comprehensive economic partnership, with a third round scheduled for some time before October. Significant issues under discussion include increased access to Japanese markets for Canadian beef, pork, wheat and forest products, and a lowering of the 6.1 percent auto tariff on the Japanese side, which will require pacifying the Canadian auto industry. The 2007 Report Joint Study on the Possibility of a Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement suggested a comprehensive free trade deal could add between US$3.8 billion and US$9 billion a year to Canada’s GDP. The study projected an increase in Canada’s exports to Japan by two-thirds, a multibillion-dollar injection into the economy.
Yet several issues stand in the way of improving economic ties. One is simply keeping Japan’s attention. Between Japan’s discussions on the hugely ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership and separate trade talks with China and South Korea, it may see talks with Canada as a sideshow.
22 July
Should you bet on a Canada-EU deal? Setting the odds for the CETA
( Time is running out for Canada to complete a free trade agreement with the European Union.
The most plausible scenario is that a deal will still be made, but several deadlines for completion have already been missed and an alternate scenario could come to pass. Whatever the outcome, it will likely have a domino effect on the rest of Canada’s trade agenda – and, in turn, on the living standards of current and future generations of Canadians.
9 July
Trans-Atlantic Free Trade: light at the end of the tunnel?
By Peter Clark*
Prime Minister Harper has been taking a lot of criticism in certain quarters for returning from his recent G-8 meetings without signing the much-ballyhooed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union (EU). That the PM never tied closure of CETA to his G-8 visit does not seem to matter to his critics. …
Clearly, concluding the Canada-EU CETA has taken longer than expected – and it will take a bit longer. How much more time depends on when the participants tire of the ritual stork dance and decide they have extracted as much as they can from the other side.
In the CETA negotiations, Ottawa is saddled with coordinating the interests and safeguarding the sensitivities of ten provinces and three territories. Meanwhile, the EU has 28 member states – Croatia became the newest EU member on July 1, 2013. … They are simply not herdable or manageable, whether in a group of 13 or 28.
Such wide-ranging negotiations, albeit in a WTO Doha Round context, were described by Don Stephenson – a very astute Canadian WTO Ambassador and a truly canny negotiator – as “a multi-dimensional chess game”. In trade negotiations, nothing is done until everything is done – until then the various players will act like Oliver Twist, always asking for more.
*Peter Clark, a former Canadian trade negotiator, is president of Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates Ltd., an Ottawa-based international trade consultancy. He is a frequent media commentator and appears regularly before Parliamentary Committees, analyzing trade and commercial policy issues.
3 July
Jeffrey Simpson: We have pandas, but no trade deal with China
beyond the pandas and the loose talk of “strategic partnership,” not much out of the ordinary has been happening between China and Canada. The Harper government isn’t keen on free-trade talks, hasn’t passed the investment protection agreement it sought and has imposed new rules for SOE takeovers.
28 June
Lee Berthiaume: CIDA officially no more
The merger has prompted varied reaction, with some seeing it as a positive step that will make CIDA and Canadian international development more relevant and better co-ordinated, and others worried the government simply wants to make foreign aid a tool for increasing trade.
27 June
Canada-China investment deal still waiting for cabinet ratification
A Canada-China investment deal once touted as key to expanding jobs and economic growth remains mysteriously unratified nine months after being tabled in Parliament.
(Toronto Star) The NDP has suggested there is deep unease in the Conservative caucus about the deal. The NDP’s trade critic Don Davies claims it gives a greater legal foothold in Canada for Chinese investment, constricts the ability of municipal governments to regulate environmental and other protections, without significantly increasing benefits and rights for Canadians doing business in China.
The Conservative government repeatedly sidesteps questions about what is holding up the process, boasting that it tabled the Canada-China FIPA on Sept. 26, 2012, acting on an election promise to table international treaties in the House of Commons.
But the government was in a position to legally ratify the deal 21 sitting days after its introduction in Parliament. The federal cabinet has been in a position to officially enact the treaty since Nov. 1.
It is not a motion or legislation, so no debate is required. It was briefly examined by a Commons committee dominated by a majority of government MPs, but since then has dropped off the political agenda.
In the interim, however, the Conservative government did approve the controversial $15.1-billion takeover by CNOOC Ltd., a Chinese state-owned oil giant, of Canadian-owned Nexen. Chinese state-controlled media reported it was China’s largest overseas investment last year.
24 June
Jeremy Kinsman: Canada-EU relationship about much more than trade
(Op-Ed Ottawa Citizen) the strength of the relationship lies in “affiliate sales” from direct investment in each other’s market which typically are three to four times the trade in goods. This is quite different from the Canada-U.S. relationship where trade flows and affiliate sales are historically roughly equal. To view the Canada-EU relationship through trade alone is completely misleading.
This is the background to the innovative but very difficult new kind of agreement being attempted. It is not a “free-trade agreement.”
7 June
Ottawa lowers expectations for EU deal ahead of G8 summit
(Globe & Mail) Trade talks and tax havens are poised to dominate Stephen Harper’s European tour next week, but neither issue is shaping up to be a source of political good news for a Prime Minister enduring one of the most politically challenging periods of his more than seven years in office.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman is playing down expectations that a free trade deal with the European Union will be inked during the trip, even though Canada intensified negotiations in recent weeks in the hope of ending the negotiations. ( Pressure is on Europe-bound Stephen Harper as Canada-EU trade deal remains elusive
6 June
Canada-EU Trade Talks Hinge on Beef and Pork Access
(Bloomberg) Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s trade agreement with the European Union, which would be his most ambitious to date, hinges on access to the single market for Canadian beef and pork producers.
An impasse over meat imports means a pact probably won’t be reached during Harper’s trip to Europe next week, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said yesterday. European officials may be trying to use Harper’s visit to pressure Canada into accepting unfavorable terms, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks aren’t public.
Lee Berthiaume: Saudis cancelled trade meet over Baird gaffe: report
(Ottawa Citizen) A controversial coffee meeting two months ago has suddenly put Canada’s multibillion-dollar trade ties with Saudi Arabia under the spotlight. The two countries were to participate in a major economic summit in Toronto this spring, but the meeting has been postponed indefinitely.
Canadian officials and the Saudi Embassy have refused to say why the Joint Economic Commission meeting won’t be held as planned.
4 June
John Ibbitson: Liberals, NDP likely to fall in line on EU trade deal
On the better-late-than-never front, Canada and the European Union are expected to announce their long-awaited trade agreement during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s trip to Europe next week. If so, this will make things interesting for the NDP and the Liberals.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, will go much farther than FTA ever contemplated. Its most controversial clauses are expected to extend patent protections for pharmaceuticals, leading to higher drug prices.
Provinces and municipalities could be forced to open their procurement programs to European firms, and there could also be limited concessions on agriculture.
31 May
Canada-EU trade talks at crucial stage
Canadian negotiators have been instructed to remain in Brussels for nine additional days as the Harper government makes its most concerted effort yet to clinch a major trade agreement with the European Union.
The Tories are putting the finishing touches on a huge communications strategy to sell a deal they hope can be reached by the time Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to Europe in advance of the June 17-18 Group of Eight summit. …
For weeks, both sides have been saying they are very close to a deal, with only a few details left to be worked out.
But like all trade negotiations, the most difficult concessions are left until last. Matching up the trade-offs each country is prepared to make has taken time. …
Newfoundland Premier Kathy Dunderdale has recently drawn attention to the pressure Ottawa is putting on provinces to make concessions for an EU deal. (John Ivison: Canada ready to sign EU trade deal, but Newfoundland may throw wrench in the plan)
29 May
Harper can’t seem to close the big deals
(Globe & Mail) Stephen Harper has campaigned on free trade, but so far he’s been better at opening big talks than closing big deals. Now crunch time is coming.
In a few weeks, Mr. Harper faces yet another self-imposed deadline to strike a trade deal with the European Union. He’s missed target dates so many times before – all [the] while promising a deal and touting its importance – that he’s painted himself into a corner. … An EU agreement would be a major trade step for Canada. It would also be revealing for other potential trade-agreement partners: A deal would give them a map of Canada’s sensitive areas on trade. No deal would suggest Mr. Harper can’t commit.
23 May
Stephen Harper passes on Pacific Alliance but vows to maintain close relations with Americas
… when it came time for Canada to formally ask to join them at the negotiating table, Harper took a pass for now.
Harper praised Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru for coming together in an effort to knock down walls and become more economically competitive while at the same time working to strengthen their respective democracies together.
20 May
Harper travelling to Colombia as ‘observer’ at Pacific Alliance trade meeting
The Pacific Alliance was formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru in 2011 and Canada took a spot on the sidelines the next year, along with several other countries as observers. … The goal of the nascent alliance is to tear down what economic borders remain between their countries, creating an integrated market to rival and compete both internationally and regionally with that of Mercosur.
9 May
Canada-EU trade deal nears; agriculture is final sticking point
The European Union’s ambassador to Canada said special access for agriculture goods is the last holdout to a trade deal between Brussels and Ottawa and drew a line in the sand over how much market access the EU could offer Canadian beef producers.
… The deal is long overdue. The Conservatives promised in the last election campaign to sign one by 2012. … Ottawa’s long-delayed trade deal with South Korea stands as a reminder of what can go wrong when Canada fails to beat the United States to the punch.
The Tories are under pressure to deliver. Almost since taking office, they have talked of signing major trade agreements that diversify commerce away from the slow-growing United States but have so far failed to land one significant accord that would underpin what has become a major pillar of the Harper economic strategy. Negotiations with India and other big economies have also made little progress.
22 April
Delayed China Trade Deal Reflects Tory Dissent, NDP Says
(HuffPost) The government had signalled last fall its intention to ratify the investment treaty it signed with China and tabled in Parliament in September, but six months have passed and the Conservatives have yet to adopt the deal.
“The Canada-China investment treaty has not been unanimously accepted — even among Conservatives,” NDP international trade critic Don Davies told CBC News in a telephone interview on Sunday.
The Canadian government has been criticized for negotiating this deal behind closed doors. Opposition critics and experts say it contains significant gaps and provides few benefits for Canada. …
Conservatives have pointed out that the FIPA with China didn’t have to be debated in Parliament because treaty making is a royal prerogative and as such can become law through a cabinet order-in-council after sitting in Parliament for no less than 21 days after being tabled on Sept. 26, 2012.
18 April
IRPP Study: Greater clarity required in Canada’s foreign investment rules
Foreign Direct Investment and the National Interest — A Way Forward (.pdf)
By Dany H. Assaf and Rory A. McGillis
What is Canada’s national interest with respect to FDI? Is there a need for further policy reform in light of the patterns and flows of changes in international capital, trade and investment? Where do we stand in relation to other global competitors for investment? In this study, Dany Assaf and Rory McGillis examine these questions as they pertain to the ICA and assess how transparent, clear and coherent the Act is compared with the regimes of 11 other countries.
15 March
EU trade deal could cost Canada jobs
Pact risks deepening our reliance on natural-resource exports
By Roy Culpeper And John Jacobs, Edmonton Journal
The comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA), now in the final stage of negotiations between Canada and the European Union, presents Canadians with dubious trade benefits and a number of serious downsides.
The challenge for Canada’s pattern of trade is to move beyond a reliance on natural resource exports by developing its high technology sectors.
Roughly speaking, Canada currently exchanges gold and diamonds for EU pharmaceuticals and motor vehicles, an imbalance that will only be reinforced by CETA. According to the OECD “low-technology manufacturing will decline in importance in industrialized counties,” suggesting that Canada needs broader industrial policies that increase innovation and productivity.
However, our prognosis suggests that CETA would reduce Canada’s policy options for developing our industrial sector.
21 February
Canada-EU Free Trade Deal Will Be Scrapped If Canada Doesn’t Give More: Trade Official
The European Union is threatening to shut down a long-awaited trade deal with Canada unless the Harper government offers more in the way of concessions, according to multiple news reports. …
Among the sticking points for the EU is access to Canada’s dairy market, which is protected by a supply management system. The EU also wants longer patent protection on pharmaceuticals, something that could cost Canadians as much as $900 million annually in additional health care costs.
15 February
Brian Lee Crowley: Canada needs to close its free-trade deals
(Ottawa Citizen) One such opportunity that awaits a gifted closer is the free trade deal with the 500 million consumers of the European Union. Despite the fact that Canada is a trading nation, and that better access to foreign markets is one of the most powerful ways of raising our own standard of living, we have not concluded a trade agreement with a major economy since NAFTA in 1994. That’s 20 years.
It hasn’t been for lack of trying. If you visit the website of Foreign Affairs, you’ll see the list of countries with whom we are seeking to negotiate free trade deals. It includes India and Japan and the trans-Pacific Partnership, that might open the doors to China and other growing Asian economies.
But most of those negotiations are embryonic at best. The only one we got close to signing, with South Korea, has basically been defeated by opposition from the Canadian auto industry. Instead we have been signing deals with worthy countries like Jordan, Peru and Costa Rica, countries with whom our trade is valuable but microscopic.
13 February
Danielle Goldfarb: Did Obama Just Derail the Canada-EU Trade Deal?
(Open Canada)  Now that access to the huge U.S. economy is on offer for the EU, it will become harder for Canada to get the EU’s attention. If the U.S. gets a deal but Canada does not (or Canada gets only a narrow deal), our companies will be at a disadvantage in the EU market compared with U.S. companies. And the U.S. is not the only country negotiating with the EU – Mexico already has a deal, and Japan and India have started negotiations.


Walking the Silk Road: Understanding Canada’s Changing Trade Patterns
(Conference Board of Canada) Canada’s trading patterns have changed fundamentally over the past decade. The Canadian–U.S. trade relationship is waning in importance, while emerging markets, particularly China, are becoming increasingly important. Also, our trade strengths are shifting away from some manufactured products toward professional services and products related to our natural resource wealth. These changes are not just the result of the strong dollar; the growing role of emerging markets and shrinking trade barriers are key drivers. This briefing examines these changes and a wide array of factors affecting them. (December 2012)

18 March
Andrew Coyne: Canada at the crossroad of trade
Within the next few years, Canada could well become the freest trading nation on the face of the Earth. Roughly 75% of our trade is already free, thanks to the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement and its successor, NAFTA. And that, as you’ll see, is just the start. A Canada-European Union deal, called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), is at the top of the list, with negotiations predicted to wrap up by the end of this year, perhaps even sooner. About 10% of our trade is with Europe even now: with a free-trade agreement in place, that proportion would be certain to expand. At that moment, we would join a select group of countries — Chile, Colombia, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Peru — with guaranteed access to the two richest markets in the world: perhaps the first of the world’s leading economies to attain that status. I say perhaps. South Korea formally entered into a free-trade agreement with the United States this week, and is awaiting ratification of a similar agreement with the EU, so they may beat us to the punch.

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