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EU questions ‘interprovincial trade barriers’

The National Post reports today that, “The historic free-trade negotiations between Canada and the European Union were launched to much fanfare this month, but reaching a deal between the 27-country economic bloc and the provincially dominated federation of Canada will not be a walk in the park. What is clear is the talks will place increasing pressure on Canada to develop greater harmonization between the provinces, with the current layers of provincial regulatory requirements described by European officials as ‘cumbersome’, and not conducive to business.”

“Diplomats from Denmark, Poland, Slovenia and Latvia said at an editorial board meeting with the National Post that the barriers between Canada’s provinces were greater than those between the countries of the European Union…Margens Krams, Latvia’s Ambassador to Canada…said the negotiations would provide a good opportunity for Canada to take a closer look at internal trade and establish a freer single market.”

Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew wrote earlier this week in Vue Weekly that, “Local purchasing policies at the city or provincial level, limits on private bidding for municipal infrastructure projects (including water) and supply management in the dairy and other agricultural sectors could all become illegal under a Canada-EU free trade agreement, based on the terms of a scoping paper released at the end of March. If it sounds familiar to Albertans, that’s because the Canada-EU partnership is designed on the back of the Alberta-BC Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).”

To read Stuart’s full op-ed, ‘The hard bargain: What is Harper getting Canada into by negotiating a deeper economic partnership agreement with the European Union?’, please go to

In terms of additional background, the Globe and Mail had reported on September 17, 2008 that, “The proposed (Canada-EU) pact would far exceed the scope of older agreements such as NAFTA by encompassing not only unrestricted trade in goods, services and investment and the removal of tariffs, but also the free movement of skilled people and an open market in government services and procurement – which would require that Canadian governments allow European companies to bid as equals on government contracts for both goods and services and end the favouring of local or national providers of public-sector services.”

For more on the Council of Canadians campaign against TILMA, please go to

The Globe and Mail article can be read at

Today’s National Post article can be read at