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EU ambassador: finishing CETA technical negotiations ‘a question of weeks’

iPolitics | Jan 30, 2014

EU ambassador: finishing CETA technical negotiations ‘a question of weeks’

By BJ Siekierski

The EU’s ambassador to Canada updated the international trade committee Thursday on the status of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement’s (CETA) ongoing technical negotiations, saying she expects talks to be finalized within a few weeks.

When Prime Minister Harper announced the conclusion of CETA from Brussels in October with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, it was said that a deal had been reached on all the controversial issues.

What remained were the so-called “technical negotiations”, which were never completely explained and weren’t supposed to take that long anyway.

A couple of months later they still aren’t quite done, but they’re apparently close.

“What for the moment is happening is, we have the finalizing of technical negotiations going on, which I think is a question of weeks,” EU Ambassador Marie-Anne Coninsx said in response to a question from NDP trade critic Don Davies on Thursday.

Coninsx also gave a prediction for when the text of the agreement will actually be available.

“We think that it might be in about six months that we have a text, which will be not the final text, I think that for the final text we have to wait two years — it will be 2015,” she said.

“One of the reasons being that, within the European Union it will have to be translated in 23 languages, which takes some time… The European Parliament will have to give its say upon it, and also the Council of Ministers. So the whole process will take two years.”

 source: iPolitics