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European Union says Ontario the biggest obstacle to CETA

The Globe and Mail reports today that, “As a proposed large-scale free-trade and economic-integration pact between Canada and the 27 European Union countries enters a crucial stage of negotiations, Canadian and European officials say the deal’s biggest obstacle is the province of Ontario.”

“Officials close to the talks said in briefings that Ontario’s reluctance to open up its government procurement procedures to European bidding has become a sticking point.”

“A Canadian connected with the talks (says), ‘They haven’t come to the table with an offer on procurement yet. They’re not at the level that the other provinces are at.'”

“Officials from Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government say their work is taking longer than other provinces because of the complexity of Ontario’s government programs, but that they remain committed to a deal in principle.”

“Nevertheless, Canadian negotiators fear a repeat of a 2005 attempt at a Canada-EU pact, when the lack of a unified position among 11 Canadian governments led to the Europeans walking away.”

“Europeans say that a particularly contentious point is Ontario’s new Green Energy Act. This energy-efficiency bill is also a job-creation program that specifies projects that hire Ontario residents and use Ontario companies, offering subsidies to local suppliers of energy-efficient products and services.The EU negotiators said in a position paper they tabled in the negotiations this year that the Ontario legislation is a perfect example of the sort of protectionist legislation that would prevent European access to markets and make CETA unworkable.”

“They have also expressed concern about provincial liquor-sales monopolies in Ontario and Quebec.”

“European governments have begun to lobby provinces directly in favour of the deal.”

The full article is at

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