Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



Some News on the Canada-EU CETA Negotiations - Ontario Is the Problem Child

Doug Saunders has written an article in Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper entitled "Ontario foot-dragging imperils Canada-EU trade pact, officials say", which appeared on March 31, 2010. Please go to the following link - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/ontario-foot-dragging-imperils-canada-eu-trade-pact-officials-say/article1518147/

The Canada-European Community Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is under negotiation. Canada (including the provinces and territories) are negotiating a comprehensive trade deal with the 27 EU countries. The next round of negotiations take place in Ottawa during the week of April 19th. Someone wants to light a match under Ontario's feet.

The EU wants Canad to open its procurement markets. This is not surprising given the recent Canada-United States Agreement on Government Procurement aimed at resolving the "Buy America" problems. please go to the following link - http://www.international.gc.ca/commerce/buyamerican-2010.aspx

Saunders accurately reports:

Access to government procurement, according EU officials taking part in the talks, is Europe’s most important goal. Opening the negotiations, the European Trade Commission demanded that all federal, provincial, municipal, regional and local governments, as well as Crown corporations and utilities, allow foreign companies to bid on contracts for goods and services in the same way that EU countries are required to do.

The scoop is that Ontario is being singled out as a slow responder on government procurement concessions in the Canada-EU CETA negotiations. Saunders reports:

“The biggest challenge right now is Ontario,” said a Canadian connected with the talks. “They are slow in terms of getting it together, and they haven't come to the table with an offer on procurement yet. They're not at the level that the other provinces are at. We're concerned about them.”

In addition to the talk of "foot-dragging", the EU negotiators have made it clear that they are not happy with Ontario's new Green Energy Act. The European negotiators pulled Ontario representatives aside during the last round of negotiations and made it clear that they felt the Green Energy Act was protectionist and favouring Ontario suppliers.

It is a challenge to bring all the Canaidan provinces to the table according to a fast-paced schedule.  The federal negotiators probably feel like they are herding cats.

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