The European Union and Canada expect their free trade agreement boost two way trade in goods and services by $29 billion a year.
Brussels and Ottawa are targeting a 2015 launch for the deal signed Friday which requires approval from the EU’s 28 governments, the European Parliament and Canada’s 10 provinces.
Struck after four-and-a-half years of negotiations, the agreement will eliminate tariffs on almost all goods and services, boost quotas for European dairy products and remove duties on 80,000 tons of Canadian pork and 50,000 tons of Canadian beef. It will also streamline regulations, cut red tape and open up the two sides’ public procurement markets.
“This is the biggest deal our country has ever made, “exceeding the North American Free Trade Agreement with the US and Mexico, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper said.
The EU is Canada’s second largest trading partner behind the U.S.
The accord paves the way for the EU to focus on an even bigger free trade agreement with Washington that suffered a setback last month when a second round of negotiations was pulled because of the shutdown of the U.S. government.
No date has been set for negotiations to resume.