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EU gained more than expected in CETA

The Canadian Press reports today on “a European Union analysis of the just-completed trade agreement with Canada (that) suggests the EU gained more than it expected – and might have settled for less had Ottawa pushed harder.”

This supports our assertion that Harper – in his eagerness to secure the deal before the EU-United States talks overshadowed this deal – gave away too much just in order to get the deal done.

Procurement

“The Europeans cite bidding on government contracts, as well as shipments of cheese, wine and spirits, as negotiating victories. …The EU did not obtain full entry into all areas (of lucrative provincial and municipal provincial procurement contracts), but the document makes clear negotiators are more than satisfied with the results.”

Patents

“It also revels in Canada’s concession to extend patent protection on brand-name drugs by up to two years, although it makes clear that their negotiators were trying for the EU standard of five years.”

Costs

“A report by two university researchers this week estimated the cost to Canadians from delaying introduction of cheaper generic medicines will likely range between $800-million and $1.65-billion, once the patents on new drugs expire starting in 2023. …(Harper has) said the government will consider compensation for the cheese makers and the provinces, which would bear the brunt of higher drug costs.”

Next steps

There are still areas of the agreement to be negotiated, including “sustainable development, particularly dealing with environmental and labour standards…” The Canadian Press report notes, “A final text could be ‘initialled’ in a few months,” but a longer ratification period of up to two years is required.

The news report can be read here. For analysis by our trade campaigner Stuart Trew, please see here and here.