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NEWS: Canada-EU free-trade deal facing delays

European Voice reports, “A senior Canadian trade negotiator has acknowledged that free-trade talks between Canada and the European Union could drag on into next year. Pierre-Marc Johnson, the chief negotiator for the province of Quebec, said that the Canadian side was still aiming at an agreement in principle ‘very late in the year’…”

“The federal government and from all ten Canadian provinces, had set an end-of-2011 deadline for the completion of talks when they began last year.”

“The most recent round of talks, held in Ottawa on April 11-15, made little progress because of Canada’s election campaign. An exchange of formal trade offers is now expected July (11-15) in Brussels. …Lead negotiators from the two sides are (also) tentatively scheduled to hold informal talks at the end of May…”

“Provincial involvement in the negotiations makes further delays likely as five provinces – including Ontario, Canada’s economic powerhouse – go to the polls later this year.”

“Progress could also be threatened by increasing concerns on the EU side over Canada’s tar sands projects in Alberta.”

“The European Commission is eager to secure access to Canada’s national and provincial public-procurement markets and to gain greater access for dairy products. Canada, for its part, wants barriers to Europe’s financial services markets eased, and access to agricultural markets for pork, beef and grain products.”

The article can be read at http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/imported/eu-canada-free-trade-deal-could-be-delayed-until-2012/71032.aspx.