Canada’s goal to see its trade agreement with the European Union take flight this summer now appears grounded by a second series of concerns, this time from the pharmaceutical industry.
The concerns, which at first seemed to impose only minor delays, now appear significant enough to require engagement at the highest levels on both sides of the Atlantic.
Justin Trudeau spoke to the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, by telephone Tuesday and “urged proceeding” with a provisional application of the deal as soon as possible “so that its benefits can be realized,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office says.
Most of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was supposed to be provisionally applied by July 1, but it snagged on a dairy dispute, and now other dissatisfied customers are piling on.
“On the one side, you have Canada saying, ‘Let’s just get this provisionally applied and then we can deal with these issues afterwards,’ and then you have the Europeans saying, ‘We’d prefer to deal with these issues now … because once provisionally applied it will be too difficult to deal with these issues,'” said Jason Langrish, executive director of the Canada Europe Roundtable for Business, who’s been championing the deal for years.
“There needs to be a resolution to that difference of opinion.”
Asked why implementation was taking so long, Trudeau told reporters at an event Toronto Wednesday he understands that some people are getting impatient.
“We are right now moving forward in the last steps for implementation. I’m very much looking forward to crossing the finish line on this one,” he said.
CBC News reported earlier this month that some Europeans don’t like how Canada plans to allocate its cheese import quotas.
But now CBC News has learned that the European pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want the EU…