OTTAWA – Two days of face-to-face meetings between Canada’s trade minister and his EU counterpart, ending late Thursday, failed to break a deadlock on the last stumbling blocks to reaching a free-trade pact.
“Progress was made in several of the areas that remain outstanding. However, further important work remains to be done, and the process of negotiations is continuing,” a spokesman for Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast said Friday.
The EU is seeking to lower tariffs of up to 300 percent shielding Canada’s supply-managed dairy industry from imports of European cheeses.
Ottawa is pressing for increased access to EU markets for Canadian beef and pork, which Ireland opposes.
Canada-EU free-trade talks opened in 2009 with expectations of negotiations being concluded by late 2012, which would have allowed a treaty to be ratified by now.