UPDATE 1-Deal or no deal? EU-Canada trade deal falters at final hurdle

Mon Jun 2, 2014 3:31pm EDT
 
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* Pact could increase two-way trade to $35 bln a year

* Would be EU's first with major world economy

* Decision to announce a done deal seen as premature (Adds comments by Canadian prime minister, opposition leader)

By Robin Emmott and David Ljunggren

BRUSSELS/OTTAWA, June 2 (Reuters) - Canada and the European Union are struggling to finalise a multibillion-dollar trade pact six months after political leaders said it was sealed, an embarrassment for Brussels as it seeks a far bigger deal with the United States.

Over a celebratory lunch last October, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso termed the accord "a landmark achievement for the transatlantic market" that could come into force next year.

But the free trade deal, which could increase bilateral trade by a fifth to 26 billion euros ($35 billion) a year, has run into trouble over issues ranging from financial services to how beef and cheese quotas are shared out.

The drawn-out final stage of talks, with each side accusing the other of going back on promises, illustrates the complexity of sealing sophisticated trade deals and bodes ill for the EU's more ambitious talks with the United States.

"Negotiations cannot drag on forever," said Marie-Anne Coninsx, the EU's ambassador to Ottawa. "It is in the interests of both parties that we get things done."   Continued...