Multi-lateral trade talks through the WTO appear to be going nowhere, but progress on a bilateral deal between Canada and the European Union has so far exceeded expectations. The chief trade negotiator for Canada is Steve Verheul. He points out that the EU is Canada’s second largest trading partner and they’re the biggest, wealthiest market in the world. If we can negotiate a deal, Canada would have preferential access over all other developed nations. Verheul calls it the most significant negotiation since NAFTA. Both sides seem to want a big deal or no deal. Negotiations started in May and the aim is to have a deal within two years. For Canadian agriculture, a deal should mean improved access for pork, beef, grains, oilseeds and specialty crops. Hormone and GMO issues have often hindered access. For its part, the EU is interested in better access to the Canadian market for wine, processed food and cheese. The Canadian dairy sector would no doubt rail against more imported cheese so this could be a difficult issue within Canada. The negotiation between Canada and the EU has been under the radar, receiving very little public attention and debate, but it’s showing a lot more life than the WTO. I’m Kevin Hursh.