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); }

World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Roberto Azevedo participates in a session on "Transforming World Trade: Global Value Chains and Development" during the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington on Oct. 10.

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

The director of the influential World Trade Organization says nations around the planet are keeping a close eye on how Canada and the European Union overcome the stumbling blocks of their ambitious trade agreement.

WTO chief Roberto Azevedo shared his thoughts about the Canada-EU pact in a recent interview and weighed in on concerns that some European countries might still try to sink the agreement.

Azevedo said obstacles in Canada-EU negotiations are to be expected, plus he believes they can provide teaching moments for trading nations around the globe.

Story continues below advertisement

"The world is watching," Azevedo told The Canadian Press.

"They may help other negotiations and other negotiators in figuring out similar ways to move forward."

Last month in Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and EU leaders announced their five years of difficult negotiations had been completed. They insisted all 28 EU countries supported the agreement, even though a handful of them continued to grumble over the deal.

European diplomats said there was concern Romania and Bulgaria could prevent its ratification if Canada failed to lift visa requirements for travellers from the two countries.

The discontent followed reports that surfaced in the summer and again this fall about opposition in Germany to an investor-state dispute-settlement mechanism, which would give corporations the right to sue for damages stemming from new legislation that hurts their bottom lines.

When asked about the obstacles, Azevedo said hurdles like these are common in trade talks, particularly when negotiations involve so many countries.

"(European countries) all have different views about these things, so it's common that the European Union has a hard time negotiating amongst themselves before they even get to the table to negotiate with the other countries," he said, adding the Canada-EU deal is more innovative than older trade agreements and breaking new ground.

Story continues below advertisement

"I think everybody's going to be looking at the results to see whether they inspire ... other negotiations — bilateral or multi-laterally in Geneva."

The Canada-EU deal is an agreement outside of the WTO, which is a 20-year-old multilateral trading system with 159 member states.

One international trade consultant said the reason the world is watching Canada and the EU so closely is actually because of another much bigger deal: the proposed U.S.-EU trade pact.

"It's the precursor to the big show," Laura Dawson, president of Ottawa-based Dawson Strategic, said of the Canada-EU deal.

Dawson said while Canada is a much smaller economic player by comparison, its negotiations are seen as a "practice round" for the EU as it seeks common ground with the Americans.

Canada, she added, provides Europeans with a model of North American trade practices, especially in areas like intellectual property, genetically modified organisms and investor-state dispute settlements.

Story continues below advertisement

Dawson said the U.S.-EU deal has even replaced the WTO as the trade agreement the world is paying attention to.

"It's a clash of the titans," she said.

"And so, we're all just going to sit around and see how that plays out. And how that plays out will really shape how the rest of us trade in the future."

Report an error
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