EU Trade Deal: Canada sells out to European billionaires

(MSN) -- A European Union analysis of the just-completed trade agreement with Canada suggests the EU gained more than it expected — and might have settled for less had Ottawa pushed harder.


The internal document, obtained by The Canadian Press, indicates EU exporters expect to make great inroads in the Canada market. Negotiators hope the gains can be used to their advantage in other trade negotiations, including talks with the United States that have just begun.


The Europeans cite bidding on government contracts, as well as shipments of cheese, wine and spirits, as negotiating victories. The Europeans are also touting their success in persuading Canada to adopt the use of geographical indicators to market their goods.


The document also makes clear not all issues have been settled although, like Canadian officials, the Europeans don’t expect major hurdles. A final text could be “initialled” in a few months.


“In many negotiating areas Canada offered more than it has offered to any negotiating partner before,” says the document. “This is a very good outcome in its own right, but it will also provide a solid stepping stone for our negotiations with other partners.”


That characterization is similar to claims made by Canadian officials and government ministers, who have called the deal a win for both exporters and consumers.


Big win for cheese


But the European document is unique in claiming to have won concessions beyond their expectations. The Europeans are particularly pleased about realizing all their goals in the area of geographic indicators or GIs, those products named for their origins, such as Gorgonzola or Feta cheeses.


“Canada — not traditionally a friend of GIs — has accepted that all types of food products will be protected at a comparable level to that offered by EU law and that additional GIs can be added in the future,” says the document, noting 125 of Europe’s 145 “priority GIs” will enjoy full protection.


On cheeses, the document notes existing Canadian products are grandfathered, but new entrants will need to be identified by such modifiers as “style,” “type” or “imitation.” The paper suggests winning the GI battle will give European manufacturers a significant leg up when competing with Canadian producers of similar products.


It also revels in Canada’s concession to extend patent protection on brand-name drugs by up to two years, although it makes clear that their negotiators were trying for the EU standard of five years.


“This is an important and unprecedented concession from Canada in the area of intellectual property rights.”


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