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Merkel pushes EU free trade pact with Canada

The Local · 17 Aug 2012, 07:21

Published: 17 Aug 2012 07:21 GMT+02:00

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"Once I go back to Germany, I will see to it that these negotiations come to a speedy conclusion because... Canada and Germany are convinced free trade is one of the best engines of growth that we can have," Merkel said in Ottawa.

Merkel, on her first-ever bilateral visit to Canada shadowed by eurozone debt woes, discussed trade and security with her Canadian host, Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Canada and Germany hope to bolster bilateral trade directly and through the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement scheduled to be finalized by year's end, setting "a high standard for agreements between major economies going forward, but to also provide a signal to the global economy that major developed countries are able to move forward on the trade agenda," Harper said.

A deal with the 27-nation European Union would be Canada's second-largest free trade pact after the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Mexico, and the first to include access to municipal procurements.

But there are stumbling blocks in the talks involving intellectual property, public procurement and aspects of the services sector.

Canada's provinces and municipalities have expressed concerns about losing their ability to extend preferences to local suppliers. Environmentalists, farmers, auto workers and others have also rallied against the deal.

Germany is currently Canada's eighth-largest export market and ranks fifth among Canada's suppliers. Bilateral trade has grown significantly over the past decade with imports from Germany rising to Can$12.8 billion in 2011 and Canadian exports reaching Can$4.0 billion last year, according to Canadian trade figures.

A trade accord with the EU, the largest integrated economy in the world with more than 500 million consumers, would boost bilateral trade by as much as 20 percent, according a joint Canada-EU study.

Harper sought Merkel's key support as leader of Europe's largest economy for the deal in exchange for backing Germany's calls for a broader EU political union alongside the current fiscal compact to address Europe's woes, as well as access to Canada's rich and much-coveted commodities.

Speaking to reporters, Merkel reaffirmed her commitment to preserving Europe's common currency.

But "we know in a common currency area there has to be more responsibility shared politically," she added.

Harper, meanwhile, added his support for "not just finding any solution, but finding good and sustainable solutions to these problems."

"I have great confidence in the chancellor's leadership," Harper said while holding firm on Canada not contributing to a eurozone bailout fund.

While Germany has helped backstop struggling eurozone nations, Canada and the United States are the only G8 members not contributing to a bailout stash through the International Monetary Fund to help struggling Greece, Italy and Spain.

Story continues below…

Before Merkel wrapped up her two-day visit, she and Harper also lunched with military and mining company executives. Merkel announced that Canada and Germany would partner to extract Canadian raw materials.

"The supply of commodities has become a strategically important issue for many, many governments in the world," she commented. "And this is why we are so happy to have this close cooperation with a country that is so rich in natural resources as Canada is."

On her way home, Merkel is expected to stop in Halifax to discuss oceanography with scientists at Dalhousie University's Marine Research Institute and launch new research on the impacts of climate change on the Arctic Ocean.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:52 August 17, 2012 by smart2012
How Germany helped Italy? Italy so far did not get a penny from Germany...

And even with Greece, Germany is funding money to help Greece(like all the other countries including Italy and France do), however actually most of the mopney are going back to Germany as Greece pays back money to Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Siemens, Deitsche Telekom, Thyssenkrupp, ie major EU companies which invested money in Greece...

An article which has nothing to do with Europe, turn out as PROPAGANDA...Germans, wake up, your manufacturing momentum is dying, and u are the one with the biggest debt in Europe
14:01 August 17, 2012 by billss
more pills please....
16:25 August 17, 2012 by Kevin Street
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a remarkable person, a leader of very sound judgment and vision. The German people have been one of the foundations of this country, so many for so many years and have helped build our society and economy. I come from what was Berlin Ontario and grew up with German as the spoken language of my neighbors (I won¦#39;t say exactly what they taught me to say). Berlin Germany has always been a place of awe for me and I would love to visit one day. The fact is that Canadians will open their doors wide to help Germany meet their needs. We will make any of our resources available to them so they can work easier and more efficiently. After all Germans taught us much of what we know now about success and we have every confidence in the German people¦#39;s future. Next time you come be sure to visit me at the Bierzelt.

Herr Strasse, Kitchener Waterloo, Ontario
16:31 August 17, 2012 by IchBinKönig
Another sweetheart deal for the Govt.

Free Trade pact with Canada, but more taxes for German citizens, oder was?
00:36 August 18, 2012 by Leo Strauss
Harper `n Harpy
05:11 August 18, 2012 by reallybigdog
Interesting, small world!

Ps. Also from Kitchener Ontario.
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