Canada, EU 'scoping' report released

A Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade media release issued yesterday states, “The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced that Canada and the European Union have agreed on the areas to be negotiated in a possible comprehensive economic agreement, which are outlined in a joint report.”

The joint report outlines findings in the areas of trade in goods, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, technical barriers to trade, trade facilitation, customs procedures, cross-border trade in services, investment, government procurement, regulatory cooperation, intellectual property, movement of persons, competition policy and other related matters, institutional arrangements and dispute settlement, and sustainable development.

PROVINCIAL SUPPORT
The media release adds, “Minister Day also stated that the Government of Canada will continue to work closely with all provinces and territories, and is pleased to have found a way to directly involve them in the negotiations. Minister Day thanked the members of the Council of the Federation for their recent declaration of support, and said that this effort is also strongly supported by the Canadian business community.”

TRADE IN GOODS
The full text of the “Joint Report on the EU-Canada Scoping Exercise” states, “While tariff levels are generally low between the EU and Canada, the economic analysis undertaken in the context of the joint study indicated that between a quarter and a third of the overall benefits of any bilateral trade liberalisation would derive from tariff elimination. The Scoping Group was of the opinion that, in response to Leaders' calls for an ambitious agreement and to the findings of the joint study with regard to the benefits of liberalisation, the level of any tariff elimination should be considerably more comprehensive and ambitious than required by Article XXIV GATT. No tariff lines should be excluded a priori.”

INVESTMENT
The joint also notes, "The scope of the negotiations on investment should cover pre- and post-establishment in all sectors in order to improve market access and provide for the non-discriminatory treatment of investors and investments, and to improve transparency. The scope should include substantive and procedural obligations at both the central and sub-central government levels."

GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT
It also mentions, "The Scoping Group was of the opinion that any agreement should substantially improve access to public procurement markets aiming to achieve full coverage of central and sub-central government procurement in all sectors, to ensure inter alia treatment no less favourable than that accorded to locally-established suppliers."

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT
And it notes, "The Scoping Group was of the opinion that any agreement should include institutional provisions for its effective administration, including a binding state-to-state dispute mechanism as well as appropriate mediation mechanisms."

PACT SAID TO FAR EXCEED THE SCOPE OF NAFTA
The Globe and Mail had reported in September 2008 that, "The proposed 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."

The media release can be read at
http://w01.international.gc.ca/minpub/Publication.aspx?isRedirect=True&publication_id=386908&language=E&docnumber=60

The full text of the “Joint Report on the EU-Canada Scoping Exercise" can be read at
http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/eu-ue/can-eu-report-can-ue-rapport.aspx

The Globe and Mail article from September can be read at
http://ago.mobile.globeandmail.com/generated/archive/RTGAM/html/20080918/wtrade18.html