The Government of Canada’s free-trade deal with the European Union has entered the final stages, with the announcement Tuesday that negotiators have concluded the text of the agreement.
Federal officials, speaking on background, said the agreement could take up to two years to ratify, translate and fine-tune. That means it might not be in force before the next federal election, expected October 2015.
The Harper government has made the deal with Europe a keystone of its economic agenda, giving Canada favoured access to Europe’s $17-trillion economy.
Once implemented, 98 per cent of the tariffs between the partners would drop to zero.
In addition to tariff removal, there are chapters on professional accreditation that will make it easier for people to work in either zone, and more opportunities in financial services and telecommunications. The agreement also contains an enhanced dispute resolution process, allowing for open hearings and dismissal of frivolous claims.