On February 23, CanWest reported that, “European businesses are demanding the right to bid on provincial government goods and services contracts” to be part of the proposed Canada-European Union trade deal.
As the Council of Canadians has previously noted, the proposed Canada-EU trade deal reportedly exceeds NAFTA in scope and would allow companies to access government contracts and public-sector services.
NEWFOUNDLAND OPPOSES THE DEAL
Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams, citing a proposed EU ban on seal products, said, “At this point, we are not willing to sign on to support the negotiation of a new and comprehensive economic agreement with the European Union.”
OTHER PROVINCES SUPPORT THE DEAL
“But a European official said Monday the overwhelming support of other provinces, who issued their own pro-free trade statement Friday, is good enough to justify ongoing talks.”
European official Jan Sliva “said the EU is still attempting to clarify ‘the commitments of Canadian provinces’ in terms of their willingness to implement the accord’s terms.”
QUEBEC IS DRIVING THE DEAL
In September 2008, Inside US Trade reported that, “Quebec Premier Jean Charest has been driving the process, looking for opportunities for increased European investment in insurance, financial services and greater export opportunities for pharmaceuticals and biotechnology which face regulatory barriers such as those against genetically modified organisms in Europe.”
SCOPING EXERCISE NOW UNDERWAY
CanWest notes that, “Negotiators for both sides are engaged in a ‘scoping’ exercise intended to determine what will be on the table. If that process is a success Canada and the EU are expected to launch full-scale negotiations in May during a summit in Prague.”
This scoping exercise has previously been reported as an “exercise to determine which sensitive areas of trade are open for negotiation.”
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