EU, Canada Reach Trade Agreement

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former European Union President Mirek Topolánek at the launch of trade negotiations in May, 2009. Photo: pmwebphotos for flickr.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L) and former European Union President Mirek Topolánek (R) at the launch of trade negotiations in May, 2009. Photo: pmwebphotos for flickr.

Representatives from the European Union and Canada gathered in Brussels on Friday, October 18 to strike a new free trade agreement with the purpose of increasing employment and economic growth. The new deal is intended to slash red tape, decrease tariffs, and simplify regulations. The agreement will remove roughly 99% of tariffs between the two economies.

The agreement is one of many trade pacts being negotiated by the European Commission (EC) with over 80 other nations in light of the Doha global trade talk collapse.

The free trade agreement aims to make it less difficult for Canadian and European companies to buy from and invest in each other. In addition, it grants Canada freer access to a market of some 500 million people — thus making it an even larger deal than the American Free Trade Agreement between Mexico and the United States.

The EC predicts the agreement and will bring about an increase of two-way bilateral trade in goods and services by 23%, or 25.7 billion euros ($35B). Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated at the conference that the agreement is “the biggest [trade] deal our country has ever made.”

The deal still requires ratification by the EU and parliaments.

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