Canada, EU wrap up free trade negotiations

GMT 00:32 2014 Wednesday ,06 August

Arab Today, arab today Canada, EU wrap up free trade negotiations

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Ottawa - AFP

Canada and the European Union have settled on the final text of a landmark free trade deal, which is expected to come into force mid-2016, Canadian officials said Tuesday.
The 1,500 page document -- which will eliminate 98 percent of tariffs on goods and services, increase cross-Atlantic worker mobility and harmonize professional qualifications -- must still be translated into 23 languages and be reviewed by lawyers, trade officials in Ottawa said.
That could take up to two years, and then lawmakers must still ratify the agreement -- which has not yet been made public.
More details of the deal are expected to be revealed in September when Ottawa will host a Canada-EU summit to mark the official end of negotiations that started in 2009.
The accord, which Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has hailed as "the biggest (trade) deal our country has ever made," was reached last October.
But it took until last week to resolve several outstanding technical issues, involving investor protections, banking and other areas.
The accord is expected to boost bilateral trade by 20 percent and is widely seen as a template for EU efforts to conclude a similar Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States, touted as the biggest free-trade agreement ever..

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