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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ottawa Sacrifices Atlantic Canada for EU Trade Relations

Canada is the European Union’s 11th most important trade partner.

The value of EU exports to Canada rose to nearly $42 Billion dollars in 2007. A roughly equivilent amount of Canadian exports entered the EU during the same period.

Value-added products such as machinery, transport equipment and chemicals made up 32% of the EU's imports from Canada. An additional 17.6 % of bilateral trade consisted of agricultural or energy-related products, as well, trade in services, particularly travel and transportation, is a growing area in the trade relationship.

Investment is also a particularly strong feature, with Canada as the third largest investor in the EU.

In 1976, Canada and the EU signed the first ever Framework Agreement for Commercial and Economic Cooperation between the EU and an industrialized country. The 1990 Transatlantic Declaration built on this agreement.

The EU and Canada meet in annual EU-Canada summits.

In addition, senior European Commission and Canadian Federal Government officials meet once a year in the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) to review the full range of issues relating to EU-Canada economic and trade relations.

The EU and Canada have signed a number of bilateral agreements designed to facilitate closer trade. These include agreements on cooperation between EU and Canadian customs administrators (1997), to combat fraud and to facilitate trade, and a Veterinary Agreement (1999) aiming to improve bilateral trade in live animals and animal products. A Wine and Spirits Agreement was signed in 2003.

Canada has recently expressed interest in a wider FTA (Free Trade Agreement) type agreement with the EU, and at their Summit in June 2007 the parties agreed to undertake a Joint Study to examine the existing barriers - especially non-tariff barriers - to the flow of goods, services and capital between the EU and Canada, and to estimate the potential benefits of removing such barriers.

At their Summit on 17th October, the EU and Canada agreed to "work together to define the scope of a deepened economic agreement and to establish the critical points for its successful conclusion".

During all of this the EU has continued to allow fishing vessels from its member nations to sail across the Atlantic in order to commercially harvest threatened fish stocks on the fringes of Canada’s 200 mile limit. They’ve done this while ensuring that harmful trade tariffs imposed against Atlantic Canadian shrimp imports to the EU remain in place.

On Monday, March 02, 2009, the European Union voted in favor of a complete ban on all humanely and harvest seal products from a fully sustainable Canadian seal harvest, a move that is almost sure to kill the industry and severely impact on low income families in rural Atlantic Canada.

The federal government of Canada, including Fisheries Minister Gail Shea, has since side stepped any questions put to them about imposing trade sanctions against the EU over their actions.

In the wake of this recent action by the EU, new trade talks between the EU and Canada are still slated to proceed as planned.


Anonymous said...

It seems like the EU will gets its way on the seal ban.

If the Atlantic sealers/fishers were on the ball, they would put a condition into agreeing to the ban, by accepting it on one condition, that being, the EU Nations would relinquish the fish quotas which Ottawa and NAFO mete out to it annually.

The fish quotas would immediately revert back to the Atlantic sealers/fishers that would be economically affected by the ban on their annual seal hunt.

If the seal hunt is banned something is going to have to give, because the voracious appetites of the extra 250,000 seals which will be left in the eco-system annually and because of the ban will require drastic measures to be put in place on the meting out of the fish quotas by NAFO.

I am sure the EU nations know quite well that those extra seals will put as much pressure on the fish quotas as do all the fishers who fish in our offshore waters.

Do the EU Nations realize that if there is compensation to offset the extra pressure on the fish quotas, it should be the EU who should have to pay the piper, not the Atlantic Canadians who have the adjacency?

Patriot said...

You make some good points Anon but unfortunately it's not up Atlantic sealers/fishers to agree or disagree with the ban. They also don't have the ability or the voice in Ottawa to make the EU nations relinquish fish quotas or anything else.

Those decisions are made far from the ice floes in Ottawa and the people of Atlantic Canada have no more of a voice there than they do in the EU itself.

Anonymous said...

I know but if the shoe were reversed, do you not think that those pirates known as the EU would allow such atrocities to go on in their waters of adjacency without them having any say? I know they wouldn't?

We are quite aware of their mannerisms down through history. Didn't the two Great Wars start in that area of the World ?

Anonymous said...

You know, we have alot of fishing boats, maybe it's time we started protecting the stocks ourselves.


Be funny to see a 65 foot boot armed with a big ass gun.


Oh just for all the people that will want to lynch THIS IS A JOKE!! Some-What

Starrigan said...

We don't need a big ass gun, all we need are warp cutters and some balls. Keep cutting their nets from their ships and they'll soon come to realize that we mean business but until someone takes some kind of action they'll just keep on raping.

Toronto Condos said...

EU is sure not making the right move here. I just wonder if there is something we can do about it. Lately it seems to me that they try to control a little too much and are a little too demanding. Don't they?

Take care, Elli

Anonymous said...

Funny, back when we had a Liberal government in Ottawa, every effort by the EU to block seal products was successfully stopped by our trade ministers. The Tories just aren't up to the job, I guess.

Patriot said...

There's actually nothing funny about it Anon. No offense, but the Liberals didn't do anything while in power to get those tarifs lifted or to protect the fish stocks. They also did very little, just like the Conservatives, to keep the seal harvest going, it just did and under heavy opposition all the while.

None of the national parties give a crap about NL and they never will.

Our 7 seats mean nothing to that lot no matter what the stripe.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Our continental shelf Grand Banks is a classic Example of TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS!

Only it is worse in our case because it is a tragedy of the commons at the hands of our systemically flawed TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY political system.

Equality or Exit!