Jul 5, 2008

Why EU And Canada Must Join Our Bilateral FTA Agenda

The Editorial of today's Tononto Globe and Mail paints a gloomy picture of prospects for the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting. It suggests that the WTO Doha Round is dying. At best it suggests will be an agreement to delay things until the middle of 2009. In its place it calls on the Canadian Government to resume FTA negotiations with the EU. These were put on hold in 2006 pending an expected outcome in the WTO negotiations.

A Canadian - EU FTA will be no good in the agriculture arena where there will be huge exclusions but in some areas of agriculture (eg wine) and for industrial and services New Zealand could be disadvantaged by such a deal in both the EU and Canada should this deal be inked.

Phil Goff has been pushing the FTA agenda with the EU for some time and deserves full credit for his leadership. But he should be redoubling his efforts should the WTO Ministerial not make any progress. Likewise we should be pressing Canada to consider starting negotiations with New Zealand. This idea has been around since 1996 but has not proceeded because of agriculture.