There are those who seem to want to make a big, scary deal out of the story that appeared days ago in the Globe & Mail about free trade negotiations between Canada and the European Union, casting it in some nefarious light. Well, sorry to be the one to burst your conspiracy theory bubbles there folks, but this really is pretty much of a yawning non-story — at least in the trade community.
These negotiations have been ongoing for years, and actually take root in the days of the Chrétien government and their efforts to escape the stranglehold of our excessive trade dependence on the United States by attempting to open up new global markets for Canadian exports abroad. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade together with Export Development Canada have been diligently hammering away at this for almost a decade, so to trot this out now as some dark plan hatched by the Harper “neo-cons” for “integration” with the EU is pretty laughable. In truth, these talks have been nearing fruition for some time over the past year, with David Emerson talking it up at every available opportunity on the chamber of commerce business luncheon circuit.
It should also be noted that, as part of working towards this goal of broadening Canada’s trade bilateral ties with global trading partners within the framework of its so-called “Global Commerce Strategy,” the government signed a new free trade agreement (FTA) earlier this year with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland worth an estimated $11 billion annually. At the risk of boring everyone from here to kingdom-come to death, I could go on…
Sorry Allison, but you’re barking up the wrong tree here.