Canada-EU deal hits bump

Canada and the European Union are hoping the momentum of last week's free-trade announcement will carry over into a troublesome side agreement.

Sources close to the talks say the separate Strategic Partnership Agreement -- which covers non-trade matters such as human rights -- may get a shot in the arm from the recent signing in Brussels of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement…

That capped four years of negotiations, but it's expected it will take another 18 to 24 months to finish the fine print and ratify the pact. Both sides need to sell it to their member provinces and countries.

The other piece of unfinished -- and related -- business is the Strategic Partnership Agreement, which Canada and Europe began negotiating in 2011 and has been linked to the broader trade and investment pact.

Canada is balking at the inclusion of language in a final text that would refer to the importance of affirming human rights and non-proliferation efforts.

The EU insists all major agreements it negotiates contain language that promotes human rights and fights the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- and it doesn't want to make an exception for Canada.

The EU's new ambassador to Canada, Marie-Anne Coninsx, has said the two pacts are linked and there won't be a deal on one without the other…

This has been excerpted from the 28 October 2013 article by the Canadian Press, and is available in its entirety at