Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

An European Union flag flutters outside of the European Parliament in Brussels October 12, 2012

Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Canadian negotiators have been instructed to remain in Brussels for nine additional days as the Harper government makes its most concerted effort yet to clinch a major trade agreement with the European Union.

The Tories are putting the finishing touches on a huge communications strategy to sell a deal they hope can be reached by the time Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to Europe in advance of the June 17-18 Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Harper is spending eight days in Europe starting June 11, a schedule that would allow him time to make a detour to the EU capital in Belgium to celebrate a trade agreement.

Story continues below advertisement

Steve Verheul, Canada's head negotiator, has been in Brussels in talks with the Europeans for the past week. Ed Fast, Canada's trade minister, has also dispatched Bill Hawkins, his chief of staff, to the negotiations so he can report back progress at this crucial juncture.

Sources close to the talks say Mr. Verheul's team has been told to remain at the negotiating table in Brussels until at least June 8.

Mr. Fast, who met Wednesday with his EU trade counterpart on the sidelines of an Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development meeting in Paris, will speak by phone Saturday with Karel De Gucht to keep pressure on the talks.

A Canada-EU deal would be broader in scope and deeper in ambition than the historic Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement of 1988. The Harper government sorely needs a deal to show it is succeeding at diversifying trade away from the slow-growing U.S. market – and to change the channel from a corrosive scandal over Senate expenses.

It would make it easier for Canadian companies to invest in, and sell to, the 17-member EU with its 500 million consumers.

For weeks, both sides have been saying they are very close to a deal, with only a few details left to be worked out.

But like all trade negotiations, the most difficult concessions are left until last. Matching up the trade-offs each country is prepared to make has taken time.

Story continues below advertisement

The Conservatives insist they won't take a deal at any cost.

"An announcement will only be made when Canada's core interests are met: sufficient access to the EU market for beef and pork – and a deal that benefits all regions of the country," said Adam Taylor, director of communications for Mr. Fast.

Canada wants the European Union to grant more access for beef than Brussels is prepared to give. It wants as much leeway as possible to ship Canadian-assembled cars to the EU. The Europeans want Ottawa to lengthen the effective patent protection for brand-name medicine in Canada and open up provincial and city procurement markets.

"[Europe's] sensitive about greater beef access. [Canada's] sensitive about intellectual property. We're prepared to make that type of trade … that is the official state of play at work," one person familiar with the talks said.

Newfoundland Premier Kathy Dunderdale has recently drawn attention to the pressure Ottawa is putting on provinces to make concessions for an EU deal. Ottawa is asking St. John's to scrap provincial rules that require fish landed locally to be processed locally. She hinted Thursday that improvements to regional federal search-and-rescue services are on the table in her discussions with the federal government.

Canada is under pressure to get a deal with the EU before Brussels turns its negotiating efforts this summer to a free-trade deal with the United States. At the same time, the EU would like to clinch a Canadian deal to demonstrate to Washington that it can ink a substantive agreement to liberalize trade and to prove it is worth the negotiating effort.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies