Manley urges EU to deliver on trade deal talks
Former Canadian deputy prime minister says time is running out on negotiations
At the Ireland Canada Business Gathering in Dublin yesterday were (from left) Cormac Monaghan, president, Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce; John Manley, former deputy prime minister of Canada; and Malachy Smith, boardmember, Ireland Canada Business Association. Photograph: Dave Meehan
A comprehensive free trade agreement with Canada should be a top priority for EU leaders, former Canadian deputy prime minister and chief executive of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives John Manley said in Dublin yesterday.
Addressing a conference organised by the Ireland Canada Chambers of Commerce and the Ireland Canada Business Association, Mr Manley said time was running out on the negotiations and that failure to reach an agreement soon would damage the EU’s credibility in international trade talks.
The Canadian Council of Chief Executives is taking a leading role in the proposed Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
Failure to conclude an agreement with Canada now, after four years of talks, would send an unmistakable message to the world about the inherent complexities of negotiating a comprehensive economic partnership with the 28-country EU, Mr Manley said.
“Like it or not, it will be interpreted as: ‘The EU is such an unwieldy structure, don’t even waste your time.’”
He noted the strong and growing business ties between Canada and Ireland. More than 80 Canadian companies are active in Ireland, including Sun Life Financial, Celestica and Magna International.
Canada’s Weston family has owned Ireland’s iconic Brown Thomas department stores since 1983. Two of the largest recent investments in Ireland’s financial sector were Canadian-led: Fairfax Financial’s investment in Bank of Ireland and Great West Life’s acquisition of Irish Life.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said Canada was an affluent, high-tech industrial society with a market-orientated economy and strong historical links with Ireland. The Government has designated it a priority target market in its trade strategy.