EU-Canada trade talks hit snag on wording of human rights clause
Oct 8, 2013 / 10:58 am
OTTAWA - There's a new pothole on the long, bumpy road towards a Canada-Europe free trade deal: whether human rights and weapons of mass destruction should be addressed in a side agreement to the overall pact.
Diplomats from the European Union say that Canada is balking at the inclusion of language in a final text that would speak to the importance of affirming human rights and non-proliferation efforts.
The clauses would not appear in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement but in a separate so-called Strategic Partnership Agreement.
The EU's new ambassador to Canada, Marie-Anne Coninsx, says the two pacts are linked and there won't be a deal on one without the other.
The long-stalled free trade talks have been a work in progress since 2009, while negotiations on the partnership agreement started in 2011.
Coninsx says she knows Canada and the EU agree totally on the importance of human rights, but if they don't include it in the agreement that could send the "wrong signal" to countries involved in future treaty negotiations.
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