Focus shifts from NAFTA to Canada-EU trade outcome

By Staff, with files from The Canadian Press | February 14, 2017 | Last updated on February 14, 2017
2 min read

Business leaders were relieved following U.S. President Donald Trump’s remarks about the future of U.S. trade with Canada. The comments were made during the joint conference yesterday between Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau.

During that event, Trump stated that the U.S. was in favour of “tweaking” the North American Free Trade Agreement, rather than ripping up or dramatically changing the deal as Trump had vowed to do during the election campaign.

Read: NAFTA, the U.S. trade success story

Now, business leaders are hoping for a second wave of positive news out of Europe.

This week, Trudeau will set out on a four-day European tour that will take him to Strasbourg, France. There, he’ll address the European Parliament, which is expected to vote to ratify the Canada-EU free trade deal. Trudeau will also meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

His visit to Europe is expected to coincide with the European Union’s ratification vote on its free-trade deal with Canada–an agreement nearly scuttled last fall due to opposition from a small region in Belgium.

“The prime minister is now off to hopefully put [the Canada-EU free trade deal] in his pocket and bring it home from Europe, which would also be good news,” John Manley, the president of the Business Council of Canada, said in an interview.

Read: Canada must focus on jobs and trade, says growth council

Canada is expected to ratify the deal after the European Parliament gives its assent. The deal will still need the approval of the EU’s 28 national parliaments as well as some regional governments, but 90% of the deal is expected to come into force under what is known as provisional application.

Perrin Beatty, head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, agrees that it’s important for the federal government to finalize the deal with the EU.

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Staff, with files from The Canadian Press

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