AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Published — Friday 18 January 2013
Last update 19 January 2013 1:48 am
OTTAWA: Canada and the European Union may be mere weeks away from signing a free trade pact that would be this country's largest, a German envoy told Canadian media yesterday.
In diplomatic circles in Ottawa, it was confirmed that a deal is imminent but a few issues still need to be ironed out.
German Ambassador Werner Wnendt told the daily National Post there was " readiness on both sides, the Canadian government side and the European Union side, to really finish the negotiations."
"It is, and should be possible, to do it as soon as possible — and as soon as possible could be next month," he added.
Once a deal is reached, both sides would still have to ratify it, which could delay its implementation for several more months.
A free trade pact would give Canadian companies access to the EU market of 500 million consumers in 27 countries, while eliminating 98 percent of Canadian tariffs on EU goods, effectively lowering the price of European goods sold in Canada by as much as three to five percent.
Last year, Canada-EU trade topped CAN$ 92.1 billion, up 10 percent from 2010 figures.