Canada-Europe historic trade deal removes tariffs on metals and minerals

Canada and the European Union signed Friday a tentative deal to open up markets and eliminate nearly all import taxes on everything from food to metals and mining products.

"This is a big deal. Indeed, this is the biggest deal our country has ever made," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in Brussels after signing the agreement alongside European Commission president Jose Manual Barroso. "This is a historic win for Canada," he added in his official statement.

Under the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and NAFTA, Canada will have preferential access to more than half of the world’s economy, a region with $17 trillion in annual economic activity.

One of the key aspects of the agreement for the mining industry is that it removes all tariffs on metals and mineral products, including iron ore and steel.

The accord, in its very early stages, will have to be drafted, run past lawyers and translated into 22 languages for 28 EU countries to examine, before it goes into effect.

Once approved it would be the largest trade agreement in Canadian history.

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