EU-Canada Pact near despite clash over seal imports

12 May 2009

EU-Canada Trade Pact

The EU and Canada have been in talks about a bilateral trade pact worth at least $27 billion a year in additional trade. Both sides agreed in October 2008 to seek a “comprehensive economic agreement” to boost trade by lowering tariffs on goods and services and encompassing areas such as investment, regulation cooperation and rules of origin.

In 2008, trade in goods and services between the EU and Canada exceeded 70 billion Euros but it is estimated that the annual real income gain by 2014 would be 11.6 billion Euros for the EU (0.08% of EU GDP) and 8.2 billion Euros for Canada (0.8% of the GDP). Canada is the EU’s 11th biggest trade partner and EU imports from Canada account for 1.6% of total EU imports according to Commission statistics. Canada’s primary exports to the EU are:

  • Crude Materials (except fuel) which account for 19.4% of its exports to the EU and 7.4% of total EU imports,
  • Machinery and Transport equipment which account for 18.2% of its exports to the EU and 1.6% of the EU’s total imports, and
  • Chemicals, which account for 14.5% of total exports and 3% of total EU imports.

Both sides officially announced the launch of negotiations at the Prague summit of 6 May and hope to reach a partnership agreement within the next two years.

Seal Clash

The summit took place despite the developing dispute between the EU and Canada caused by the European Parliaments decision to ban seal product imports from Canada (although there is a partial exemption for seal products from hunts conducted by the Inuit and other indigenous peoples in Canada as long as the products are for personal use and brought into the EU on a non-commercial basis). It is estimated that trade in seal-based products is worth around 4.2 million Euro’s. Canada has threatened to launch a challenge at the World Trade Organisation if the Parliament proposal is adopted by the European Council of Ministers.

The ban also covers all so-called pinnipeds (including walruses and sea lions)

Keep an eye on our website for more developments on the EU-Canada trade negotiations as they happen…

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