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Old 10-17-2008, 10:58 PM   #1
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Canada-EU trade deal negotiations

Harper, Sarkozy vow to work toward Canada-EU deal

Harper, Sarkozy vow to work toward Canada-EU deal

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has vowed to work toward a comprehensive economic agreement with the European Union, saying countries must avoid the tendency to "turn inward and erect barriers" in this time of economic turmoil.

Harper made the comment at a news conference in Quebec City Friday afternoon after meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy, French president and current head of the EU, and Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the European Commission.

"Without question, these times call for closer economic co-operation among key players in the global economy," Harper said.

"Among other things, this means rejecting the frequent tendency in difficult times to turn inward and erect barriers between our economies and our citizens," he said. "Indeed, we must stand against protectionism and work to lower and eliminate barriers."

Harper said the European Union and Canada have completed an economic study and agreed to begin working on negotiating an "ambitious" and "truly historic" economic partnership.

The study indicates liberalized trade in goods and services could boost Canada's economy by $12 billion seven years after implementation, Harper said.

No details were revealed but Harper said talks on the partnership will begin as early as possible next year.

Canadian negotiators will also try to hammer out an air services agreement with the EU by Nov. 30, he said.

"This will offer new possibilities to our business communities and new transfers to our various markets," Harper said.

Barroso called the talks "fruitful" and said an opening of aviation markets will bring more than 1,000 direct jobs in the first year and up to 3.5 million extra passengers each year in the medium term.

He said increasing European investment possibilities in Canadian airlines will be an important step.

'Pressing need' to work together
Harper reiterated that the fundamentals of Canada's economic and banking system are sound.

"We are, nonetheless, part of an interdependent global economy that is facing a slowdown," he added. "Thus, there is a pressing need for us to work together."

Sarkozy, meanwhile, was asked at the news conference about financial upsets at home, where a mutual savings bank revealed it had lost 600 million Euros in a trading incident last week. The French finance minister has called for a special audit of all French banks.

The president called the incident unacceptable and said it shows "lack of consequence, lack of responsibility-taking."

The three leaders met behind closed doors to discuss the world's financial markets and are in Quebec City for the Francophonie summit.

Leaders of nearly 70 French-speaking nations are expected to attend the summit, including Belgium, Switzerland and a number of African countries.

Sarkozy's visit cut short
The French president was initially expected to stay for the duration of the three-day Francophonie summit but cut his trip short to visit U.S. President George W. Bush at Camp David on Saturday to talk about the economy.

Sarkozy dismissed concerns about his shortened trip and said many advised him to stick around Europe. "I said 'No no no, it's far too important. We need Canada."

He also expounded on France's history with Canada, calling Quebecers part of "our family" and the rest of Canada "our allies and our friends."

Meeting with the European Union leaders to discuss the economic crisis and strengthen trade relations was part of Harper's six-point economic plan laid out the day after his re-election on Tuesday.

Harper has vowed to ensure Canadian banks are not put at a disadvantage by the United States and European countries pumping money into financial institutions to help stem further economic downturn.

Sarkozy also made a speech Friday in Quebec's national assembly, a first for a French president in the provincial legislature.

Sarkozy's wife, singer and former model Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is not accompanying him on the trip.



Any thoughts? Certainly I can see Canada not wanting to rely only on the U.S. for exports.
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:04 PM   #2
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Sounds like good news.

I am concerned about a '30's style series of protectionist anti-free trade wars. It is not necessary to remind ourselves what that led to.

The fact that governments seem to realise this is cause for a cautious optimism.
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:11 PM   #3
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Prime Minister Stephen Harper has vowed to work toward a comprehensive economic agreement with the European Union, saying countries must avoid the tendency to "turn inward and erect barriers" in this time of economic turmoil.

"Without question, these times call for closer economic co-operation among key players in the global economy," Harper said.

"Among other things, this means rejecting the frequent tendency in difficult times to turn inward and erect barriers between our economies and our citizens," he said. "Indeed, we must stand against protectionism and work to lower and eliminate barriers."
I would vote for this guy.
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:13 PM   #4
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Canada is very dependent on trade, and right now, they're mostly at the whims of the U.S. government, which vacillates between protectionism and free trade; but, under the example of the Bush Administration, it usually shows that most governments like to have their cake and eat it too, as Bush erected so many unofficial barriers to trade between the U.S. and Canada as to render NAFTA impotent.

I think it is natural for Canada to look to spread the risk, and the E.U. is a natural entity to turn to next, as it is a group of mostly industrialized nations with similar standards of living. Put this in contrast with the U.S., which mostly looks to set up free trade agreements with, for a lack of a better term, third-world "banana republics." It's no wonder most Americans see free trade as a drain on jobs and standards of living, because, frankly, that's what most U.S. free trade agreements are meant to provide--sources of cheap labor for American multinational corporations.
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:27 PM   #5
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By the way, purpleoscar, you mentioned the lack of free trade between the provinces. You explained it briefly, but could you--or another Canadian--explain it in more depth? What does this ultimately mean, in regard to how business is practiced in Canada? What does the lack of free trade between provinces mean for consumers? Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:27 PM   #6
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Canada and the EU are equal partners, or better, equal powers (not 100%, but I hope you get what I mean ) when it comes to free trade negotiations. It's certainly an important sign to show that those economic "power houses" are still willing to trade and indeed do everything to avoid a new era of protectionism. Both Canada and the EU should be able to profit from that.
It also increases pressure on the US not to try to dictate trade agreements.
It's sad, however, that the EU and Canada are able to promote real free trade, i.e. both countries get rid of their protectionism, while free trade agreements with less developed countries always look like the less developed country agrees to abolish all their means of protectionism, this way opening up their economy to those multinationals, while EU countries, Canada, the US or whichever keep their protectionism widely intact.
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:31 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Vincent Vega View Post
Canada and the EU are equal partners, or better, equal powers (not 100%, but I hope you get what I mean ) when it comes to free trade negotiations. It's certainly an important sign to show that those economic "power houses" are still willing to trade and indeed do everything to avoid a new era of protectionism. Both Canada and the EU should be able to profit from that.
It also increases pressure on the US not to try to dictate trade agreements.
It's sad, however, that the EU and Canada are able to promote real free trade, i.e. both countries get rid of their protectionism, while free trade agreements with less developed countries always look like the less developed country agrees to abolish all their means of protectionism, this way opening up their economy to those multinationals, while EU countries, Canada, the US or whichever keep their protectionism widely intact.
I was hoping the U.S. could succeed in free trade with Latin America but he's a lame duck now and there was lots of opposition. I think it should be negotiated between individual countries if there are pockets of opposition.

I think most countries want comparative trade where only certain sectors when each feel they have some comparable advantage can compete. It's better than going the Smoot-Hawley way at least.
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by melon View Post
Canada is very dependent on trade, and right now, they're mostly at the whims of the U.S. government, which vacillates between protectionism and free trade; but, under the example of the Bush Administration, it usually shows that most governments like to have their cake and eat it too, as Bush erected so many unofficial barriers to trade between the U.S. and Canada as to render NAFTA impotent.

I think it is natural for Canada to look to spread the risk, and the E.U. is a natural entity to turn to next, as it is a group of mostly industrialized nations with similar standards of living. Put this in contrast with the U.S., which mostly looks to set up free trade agreements with, for a lack of a better term, third-world "banana republics." It's no wonder most Americans see free trade as a drain on jobs and standards of living, because, frankly, that's what most U.S. free trade agreements are meant to provide--sources of cheap labor for American multinational corporations.
Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) - About TILMA

We have NAFTA and now TILMA.

http://www.tilma.ca/about/Misconceptions.asp

This link has more FAQs.
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:47 AM   #9
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I would vote for this guy.
Well he was for the Iraq war when he was in opposition so you probably wouldn't at first. When he won he abandoned the idea and focussed on debt repayment and tax cuts.

He's an economist so he was able to win the election on people trusting him with the economy. The liberal guy is a lawyer and wanted a Carbon tax that supposedly would be offset by tax cuts elsewhere but Canadians knew that anything you do to business will be passed on in increased costs to the general population.

Anyways I think you would like him more than most leaders because of a continued balanced budget (despite a recession) and debt repayment. Most economists have an orgasm over debt repayment. When you free up revenue that doesn't have to go to interest it helps to keep the budget balanced and taxes low more permanently.

Now he's going for a free trade agreement with EU also because Sarkozy is a friendly business leader in France. Certainly the agreement is not set in stone yet. Crossing my fingers.

I also don't want to rely only on China for trade because some of their products are low quality or dangerous. I'm sure the EU has some good products that Canadians want.
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