World Bulletin / News Desk
Canadian food exporters at a major trade fair in Paris fear a last minute dispute will spoil a free trade deal between Canada and the European Union.
Barring a few sensitive agricultural products, the free trade deal, known as CETA, would abolish virtually all tariffs between Canada and the currently 28-strong EU.
Supporters say it will boost trade in goods and services between the two trading partners by more than 20 percent and total EU GDP by about 12 billion euros ($13.4 billion) per year.
"I've been waiting for it for three years!" enthused Kevin Pelletier, whose company Ferme Vifranc, based in Saint-Pamphile in Quebec, produces sweets made from local favourite maple syrup.
The removal of import duties on some top end products should help drive the company's sales in Europe 2 to 5 percent higher, he said, adding Europe accounted for about half of its business.
Organic chocolate maker Sacha Laflamme, who has been trying to get a foothold in the French market, is also sweet on the idea of easing market access in the EU.
"I have a lot of expectations and hopes. If this deal can open doors for us, facilitate contracts," he said.
A sour note, however, is Britain's decision to quit the EU, meaning a "major player in the European community" will be missing from the final deal, he added.
At Floating Leaf, an exporter of wild rice and lentils to Europe, the absence of Britain, an important customer, from CETA is also a source of regret. "I hoped Britain would be part of this agreement," sales chief Matthew Ratuski said.Last Mod: 19 Ekim 2016, 17:45