Newspaper article The Canadian Press

EU Trade Deal to Help Canadian Ports but Won't Reverse Trade to Asia, Say Experts

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

EU Trade Deal to Help Canadian Ports but Won't Reverse Trade to Asia, Say Experts

Article excerpt

EU trade deal won't reverse trade from Asia

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MONTREAL - Canada's new trade deal with the EU will eventually help eastern ports expand their business with Europe but won't reverse what has been a momentum swing to Asia, experts said Monday.

Port of Halifax CEO Karen Oldfield said the recently negotiated Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement will "jet propel" existing trade with Europe without undercutting trade with other global regions.

"I don't think it will shift the pendulum back necessarily," she said in an interview. "I think it will just grow the pie to an even bigger pie."

European trade represented 38 per cent of the east coast port's business last year, the second-largest destination behind Asia and triple the activity with Latin America and the Caribbean.

More than 416,000 containers passed through the port in 2012, of which 52 per cent were exports. The port's top five exports are newsprint and paper, wood pulp, manufactured goods, seafood and vegetables.

She said reducing and eliminating tariffs on many products will grow European exports, helping companies that sell products including locomotive engines, automotive parts, seafood, minerals and soy beans. Oldfield points to $115 billion worth of large-scale capital projects such as an underground mine in Voisey's Bay, NL, and P.E.I. soybeans.

"It will make it much more advantageous for Canadian companies to be looking at Europe versus say what many Canadian companies do today, which is just look south of the border, exporting into the United States."

North America's closest deep water port to Europe has all the infrastructure in place but Oldfield said Canadian officials will have to work on trade missions to educate the European public about the agreement.

The Port of Montreal is also positive about the trade deal but spokeswoman Sophie Roux said the benefits of the new pact would not be realized overnight.

Northern Europe accounts for nearly 47 per cent of the 1.4 million carloads shipped through the port annually, followed by 19 per cent for the Mediterranean and 13. …

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