EU and Canada agree free trade deal

The European Union and Canada have agreed a major free trade deal. The deal comes after four years of negotiation and is the first of its kind between the EU and a G7 country.

It is expected to generate £17.42bn through trade and new business. President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper made rapid progress during the week and agreed the deal on Friday.

EU Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso said the deal was "a great agreement for both the European Union and Canada."

The deal not only removes trade tariffs but will harmonise many business practices. The proposal had run into trouble last year when talks stumbled over the question of Canadian beef exports and the EU's insistence on protection for geographical defined products. The proposal had also faced claims it would harm the Canadian dairy industry.

The Canadian government has rejected these claims. In an overview of the deal released by the government:

CETA will not affect Canada’s supply management system, which will remain as robust as ever.

The vast majority of supply-managed products will be exempt from increases in market access.

The agreement has not yet cleared all hurdles. The deal will need to be approved by all member states which may take as long as 18 to 24 months.