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EU-Canada Free Trade Talks Stalling

15 April 2013

EU/CANADA - The EU and Canada Free Trade Agreement talks could be stalling over differences over country of origin rules for beef and pork.

According to analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia, the Canadian authorities have indicated that the two sides are divided as the talks are reaching their final stages.

The EU appears to be unwilling to offer preferential access to meat that has been processed in Canada, but has been taken from animals that spent part of their lives in the US.

Canada has said that the processing of an animal in a Canadian facility should designate the product as Canadian, even if the animal had been transported across the border from a US feedlot or farm.

It is common practice for US livestock to cross the Canadian border to be slaughtered in Canada, as producers and companies react to changes in feed costs and livestock prices.

However, MLA said that the EU appears reluctant to concede this point, as it would allow US livestock an alternate route into the EU market.

It appears that if the US and the EU reach an FTA, for which negotiations are set to get underway shortly, this will become less of an issue.

A US-EU FTA is roughly four years behind the EU-Canada negotiations, so a deal between the EU and the US could take some time.

Livestock issues will most likely be a sticking point in US-EU FTA negotiations as well.

The EU has been keen to re-ignite FTA negotiations with countries, as the block looks at ways to boost economic growth, the MLA said.

The EU currently has five FTA's in force, with another four concluded and coming into force, seven in negotiation, and four about to enter negotiations.

The European Commission said in a memo released in late March that FTA's will be a priority to open up more market opportunities for European business.

As the EU and Canada enter the final stages of their Free Trade Agreement (FTA), it has emerged that the two parties have failed to resolve differences over origin rules for livestock.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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