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No country too small


 

Next week I’ll speaking at an Ottawa conference on the prospect of free trade between Canada and the European Union. How’s that going? Um… well, well enough that it’s become important to look for consolation prizes. The latest:

CANADA TABLES LEGISLATION IN PARLIAMENT TO IMPLEMENT FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH EUROPEAN FREE TRADE ASSOCIATION
The Honourable David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, today tabled in Parliament legislation to implement Canada’s free trade agreement with the states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA): Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

UPDATE: From the scrums afterward, Minister Emerson updates us on Canada’s trade negotiations. The verdict: maybe a tad early for the big Canada-EU trade conference….

Hon. David Emerson: We are getting close on Colombia; we’re not there yet.  Korea, we have another set of discussions in June.  We’ve made progress there but, as you know, there’s sensitivities, particularly around the automotive sector that we’re working our way through.  We continue to have discussions with CARICOM, with the Central American four, with the Dominican Republic.  We are moving forward in discussions with the EU pursuant to the Canada-EU Summit where we agreed to do an in-depth study of options for deepening our economic relationship and it’s our hope that we’re making some progress and hopefully at the next Canada-EU summit we’ll break that log jam.

Question:   Which of these talks are you closest to wrapping up?

Hon. David Emerson:  Well, I wouldn’t want to put it that way.  I would say that we’re in the case of Colombia we’re quite close, very close.  Korea is a little tougher.


 
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