20 January 2010 | Jake Kanter
Canadian and European officials hope to set out an ambitious trade agreement when they meet in Brussels this week.
In a statement, Canadian trade minister Stockwell Day said business between the economic powers has room to increase by C$38 billion (£22 billion) as well as boost Canada’s GDP by C$12 billion (£7 billion) a year.
It is the second round of negotiations after officials met in October last year, where they made progress on opening up public procurement and reducing barriers to trade. There will be three further meetings before the autumn, with the next scheduled to take place in Ottawa in April.
The EU is already Canada’s second largest trade and investment partner, behind the US. Exports of Canadian goods and services to the continent reached nearly C$32.9 billion (£19.5 billion) in the first three quarters of 2009, while imports from the EU were close to C$39.7 billion (£23.5 billion) in the same period.
Further commitment could benefit firms in industries including metals, chemicals and automotive.
Day said: “There is no doubt that such an agreement represents tremendous opportunities for Canadian companies looking at expanding their activities in the European market.”