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NEWS: Contentious issues in CETA talks

The Canwest News Service reports, “Canadian and European Union negotiators made progress in Brussels this week on an ambitious free-trade deal” to be concluded by late-2011.

“But (trade minister Peter Van Loan) acknowledged that negotiators still face tough challenges on politically touchy issues – particularly on Europe’s top demand that its multinational companies have the right to bid on lucrative provincial and municipal government procurement contracts for goods, services and infrastructure.”

“Council of Canadians spokesman Stuart Trew, who was in Brussels this week and has been briefed by Canadian negotiators on the talks, said the minister is exaggerating the potential gains (of $12 billion in Canadian wealth generated annually by 2014).”

“Canadian cities, he added, are probably unaware that provincial governments plan to open up municipal procurement to European bidders. ‘We think they’re willing to give cities up. I don’t think cities have been adequately consulted in that respect.'”

“He also said Europeans will put up a fight when they learn of Canada’s attempt to ship items like hormone-treated beef and genetically modified corn, products that are viewed more skeptically by a far more cautious EU regulatory system.”

“Jason Langrish, executive director of the Canada Europe Round Table, disagreed with Trew’s claims. …Langrish said the proposed deal’s quota is large enough to make it profitable for Canadian ranchers to raise hormone-free beef. He also said some EU countries probably will be able to accept genetically modified corn by the time a deal is struck.”

The full article is at http://www.montrealgazette.com/mobile/story.html?id=3290011.

For Council of Canadians analysis and ways to take action against CETA, please go to http://canadians.org/CETA.