CORRECTED-UPDATE 3-Say cheese: EU strikes trade deal with Canada, looks to U.S.

Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:34pm EDT
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(Corrects to North American Free Trade Agreement in paragraph 11)

* EU, Canada finally close talks launched in May 2009

* Deal is Europe's first with a G8 economy

* EU hopes to use it as stepping stone to pact with U.S.

By Robin Emmott and Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS/LUXEMBOURG, Oct 18 (Reuters) - The European Union and Canada agreed a multi-billion-dollar trade pact that will integrate two of the world's largest economies and paves the way for Europe to clinch an even bigger deal with the United States.

Talks were launched in May 2009 but stalled for months over quotas for Canadian beef and EU cheese. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso met in Brussels on Friday to resolve outstanding issues.

In a cheeky touch, chefs served Italian gorgonzola and Greek feta cheese at a four-course lunch laid on for the two leaders to celebrate the EU's first trade deal with a member of the Group of Eight biggest world economies.

"This agreement is a landmark achievement for the transatlantic market," Barroso told a news conference, flanked by Harper. "With political will and a good dose of hard work, there is a way to reach a result that benefits people on both sides of the Atlantic," he said.   Continued...