The National Post reports that the Harper government has agreed to allow the European Union to export twice the amount of cheese into Canada currently permitted as a way to remove a last obstacle to the signing of the Canada-EU free trade agreement.
Photo: Opposing the Canada-EU free trade agreement at the European Parliament in Belgium/ July 2010.
‘The political agreement on the deal has now been sent back to the provinces for final approval. If they sign off, the announcement of an agreement-in-principle could be made within days, said one provincial source.’ The article also notes, ‘Pauline Marois, the Quebec premier, has said that her Parti Québécois government will oppose any deal that is unacceptable to the province — home to a large number of protected dairy farmers. Ottawa is concerned that the (deal) could become a political football in the next Quebec election, which could come as soon as December.’ An industry source has also noted that the Harper government is lining up trade associations and companies in advance of the announcement.
Even if approved by the provinces in the coming days, the deal would still have to pass the 766-member European Parliament where it faces considerable opposition.