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NEWS: Implications for CETA of new US-EU TAFTA negotiations

The Canadian Press reports, “On Wednesday, the European Union and the U.S. announced they would pursue the world’s largest and most comprehensive trade agreement, dwarfing NAFTA in terms of both the size of the markets and trade volumes. Trade analysts said the announcement introduces a wildcard in the Canadian-EU talks that have already missed several deadlines, the latest for the end of 2012 (and introduces) concerns the entry of the United States could put the four-year-old talks on the backburner. …Trade analysts (say) that given the volumes involved, Europe will lose interest in Canada once the U.S. negotiations start in earnest.”

“Veteran trade negotiator and consultant Peter Clark says the Europeans will be trying to use the announcement as leverage to get Canada to offer greater concessions. …He added the Europeans are also pleading a lack of staff, which could be stretched once the U.S. enters the picture, likely in June. …(And) in a news conference from Brussels, EU Trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said reaching a good deal was better than a quick one. …Although the negotiations have been carried on behind closes doors, trade experts monitoring the talks say there are only a few key issues remaining to be resolved. But they are the most politically difficult.”

Yesterday, Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew wrote, “Of everything the U.S. president said last night in his State of the Union address, Europeans (and a few Canadian journalists) were listening closely for (the) short clip on trade (announcing the ‘launch of talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union’). …Despite four years of negotiations, the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was always a bit of a side-show to Europe’s near frenzied obsession with America. …It’s impossible to know (yet) if the launch of U.S.-EU trade talks, expected in June this year, will take energy away from the CETA negotiations.”

To read Stuart’s in-depth state-of-play blog on the CETA negotiations, the implications of the launch of the Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) talks, and the potential for a broader global alliance to fight these negotiations in conjunction with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=19296.