Steve Verheul, the lead Canadian negotiator for the Canada – EU Trade Agreement, provided an update on the CETA negotiations last week on a call with civil society groups. I will provide an update on the link between CETA and ACTA in part two tomorrow. This post highlights several additional details coming out of the call. First, new rounds of negotiations are scheduled for September 17 – 21 in Ottawa, followed by a round of negotiation in Brussels from October 15 – 26. Both sides say they remain hopeful that an agreement will be reached by the end of the year, though the call highlighted many ongoing areas of disagreement.
Second, when asked about the lack of transparency associated with CETA, Verheul confirmed that both the EU and Canada oppose the release of the text until the agreement is concluded. He argued that the draft text may create an inaccurate picture of where the negotiations stand and that the most difficult issues are often addressed via face-to-face discussions rather than with the exchange of text.
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