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European Trade Pact A Concern For Shipbuilders

by Mike Godfrey, for LawAndTax-News.com, Washington

04 March 2009


A new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Europe and Canada has drawn criticism from Canada's New Democrat MP Peter Stoffer, who is concerned about the effects it will have upon the country's shipbuilding industry.

Mr Stoffer is concerned that the shipbuilding industry has not been excluded from the terms of the FTA, and is now seeking the support of Canada's Liberal Party to try and amend this measure.

Under the terms of the FTA, foreign-built ships would see their current 25% tariff gradually reduced to 0% over a 15-year period; a move that Stoffer claims will kill the industry by opening it up to greater competition from other countries.

Expressing his concerns, Mr Stoffer stated:

“This trade deal, as it stands now, may jeopardize the hopes of strengthening our shipbuilding efforts in Canada.”

“Similar to what the US does, Canada should also exclude shipbuilding and marine services from the EFTA agreement”, he added.

The NDP`s International Trade Critic, Peter Julian, has brought amendments before the International Trade committee that would modify the Canada-EFTA agreement so that shipbuilding is excluded from the agreement.

Mr Stoffer's plea has also gained the backing of members of the Shipbuilding Association of Canada, along with the country's local shipyard workers and their union representatives.


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