Excerpted from A Canada-Europe trade deal represents a great opportunity. Can we seize it? by John Ibbitson Globe and Mail February 13, 2013
…Now the Americans also want a free trade agreement with Europe. Canada is already ahead of them. An agreement on CETA was due in December. The new deadline is March or April.
With the United States about to take centre stage, Canada risks being pushed off the stage entirely, unless it can wrap up the talks by April at the very latest.
“We’d better get our act together and conclude these negotiations quickly,” said Colin Robertson, the former diplomat who now writes and advises on trade issues, “because all of the oomph and energy on the part of the Europeans is going to immediately shift to what they see as the bigger game: the US-EU negotiations.”
As Mr. Robertson pointed out, in the last decade Canadian dithering froze this country out of a free-trade agreement with South Korea, once the Americans stepped in to do their own deal.
The reason for the delay on the Canada-European agreement is that CETA would be a very 21st-century deal. Rather than simply lowering tariffs on manufactured goods, it aims to open up government procurement to foreign bidders, to lower agricultural tariffs and to enhance patent protection, especially in pharmaceuticals…