UPDATE 2-EU, Canada near trade pact after breaking impasse

Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:57pm EDT
 
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* Deal expected to be sealed on Friday

* Deal would generate 25.7 bln euros a year in new business, trade

* Would be EU's first trade deal with G7 major economy

By Robin Emmott and Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The European Union and Canada are expected to close talks on a multi-billion-dollar trade deal on Friday that will integrate two of the world's biggest economies, if they can overcome final disagreements ranging from medicine patents to feta cheese.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will meet in Brussels to wrap up talks that started in 2009 but stalled in early 2013 over demands for greater access to each other's markets.

"The negotiations have really moved forward, which means that the two leaders will meet tomorrow with the aim of concluding," Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said.

Harper and Barroso are set to announce the deal - the EU's first with a member of the G7 club of major economies - at a news conference at 1230 GMT on Friday, if they can agree final issues including protecting Europe's distinctive geographically defined products such as feta and Gorgonzola cheeses.

Other tough files included patents for pharmaceuticals, beef exports and access to public procurement tenders.   Continued...