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Financial Post, Weekly edition, Sat 29 Jul 95, page 4

Keywords: Free trade Standards United States Europe Caning Canada's pleas for a wider trans-Atlantic free trade area between North America and Europe.

The European Union released a discussion paper this week urging the world's two largest trading powers to move toward a ''trans-Atlantic eething that is less than and more than a TAFTA,'' Jim Currie, the EU delegation's deputy head in Washington, told a conference this week.

''It doesn't obligate us to sit down immediately and start talking about areas which are difficurade barriers, and all sorts of other things have to be looked at on a broader front.''

One area businesses have made a priority is standards. European and U.S. negotiators are working on a ''mutual recognition agreement'' under whiche noted the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which took effect Jan. 1, is still being implemented.

''To move quickly into a second stage is politically not possible for us. We may not be in a position to sit domunity, we will see movement strongly in the direction of what will become a TAFTA.''

To that end, the United States and the EU have initiated studies on the mechanics and challenges of implementing free trade between the two, which wl hold a summit with European Commission president Jacques Santer in Madrid.

So far, these negotiations are bypassing Canada. Canada is negotiating separately with Europe on standards, although with no completion date yet in sight, annal Trade Minister Roy MacLaren have been touting. MacLaren has said a ''full NAFTA-EU'' deal is preferable to the EU negotiating separately with Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

''Beyond the obvious economic gains of bringing North America U.S.-EU dialogue.

Think tanks such as the Economic Strategy Institute want the U.S. to put more attention on European than Asian trade, because the flows are larger and more in the U.S.'s favor. U.S. trade is largely in balance with E. relations would not be at the expense of other countries.

Currie said the U.S.-EU dialogue is not ''an exclusive exercise. Part of the exercise is gradually from a base of EU-U.S. dialogue to widen that into the multilateral send comments to:
Revised: June 3, 1995

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