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Canada-EU free trade deal may pave way for US agreement

Container ship in the Port of Montreal along the St. Lawrence River Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Canada-EU trade pact could boost trade by $20bn a year

Canada and the European Union have agreed the final text for a free trade agreement that could provide a blueprint for a US-EU trade deal.

Tuesday's deal will cut tariffs between Canada and the EU by 98% and could boost trade by 20%, or about $20bn.

The 1,500 page document still has to be translated into 23 languages and reviewed by lawyers.

It is expected to be ratified by Canada's 10 provinces and the EU's 28 member states by 2016.

Many are seeing it as a template for US-EU trade talks.

While smaller in monetary terms, the Canada-EU deal covers more areas than the negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and EU.

The US-EU deal, if successful, would be the biggest free trade agreement to date, covering a third of world trade and almost half the global economy.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Tuesday's agreement "the biggest (trade) deal our country has ever made".

The EU and Canada reached an agreement in principle in October but there were further delays over issues such as financial services, investor protections and beef and cheese quotas.

The deal includes clauses that make it easier for people from either region to work across the EU and Europe.

Final details of the deal will be made public at a Canada-EU summit in Ottawa in September.

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