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Reports suggest free trade deal with European Union may be over-hyped

OTTAWA - Two new independent reports are playing down the benefits of the recently concluded free trade deal with Europe, casting doubts on the Harper government's contention that it is key to Canada's economic prosperity. The reports from Capital Economics and, most recently, the Royal Bank, predict the agreement, called CETA, will be a net benefit for Canada but that the gains are still too early to determine, or will be modest.

Canada, Europe wrestle with stalled side deal linked to free-trade agreement

OTTAWA - Canada and the European Union are hoping the momentum of last week's free-trade announcement will carry over into a troublesome side agreement. Sources close to the talks say the separate Strategic Partnership Agreement — which covers non-trade matters such as human rights — may get a shot in the arm from the recent signing in Brussels of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

Canada, EU free trade talks fail to break deadlock

Two days of face-to-face meetings between Canada's trade minister and his EU counterpart, ending late Thursday, failed to break a deadlock on the last stumbling blocks to reaching a free trade pact. "Progress was made in several of the areas that remain outstanding. However, further important work remains to be done, and the process of negotiations is continuing," a spokesman for Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast said Friday.

Canada, EU free trade talks fail to break deadlock

Two days of face-to-face meetings between Canada's trade minister and his EU counterpart, ending late Thursday, failed to break a deadlock on the last stumbling blocks to reaching a free trade pact. "Progress was made in several of the areas that remain outstanding. However, further important work remains to be done, and the process of negotiations is continuing," a spokesman for Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast said Friday.

UPDATE 1-Canada, EU fail to settle differences over free trade pact

(Adds details, background) By David Ljunggren OTTAWA, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Canada and the European Union failed to settle their differences on a proposed free trade deal this week at top-level talks to hammer out an agreement that is already well behind schedule. Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht spent Wednesday and Thursday in Ottawa discussing contentious issues including agricultural exports, intellectual property and public procurement.
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