Irish and Canadian leaders meet to discuss free trade deal

Irish and Canadian leaders meet to discuss free trade deal

Newly installed Irish premier Leo Varadkar will meet Justin Trudeau in Montreal today. The two leaders are expected to discuss

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

Newly installed Irish premier Leo Varadkar will meet Justin Trudeau in Montreal today.

The two leaders are expected to discuss potential bilateral business opportunities resulting from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Deal (CETA), a free trade deal expected to slash 98% of tariffs on the $120 billion Canada-EU trade relationship.

Despite the anti-CETA protests that have wracked Europe, including Ireland, Mr Varadkar strongly backs the deal and is a crucial European ally in swaying recalcitrant states. Both Canada and Ireland seek to hedge their trade relationships against populist revolts in their traditional trade partners in America and the United Kingdom.

Although Ireland is only Canada’s 10th biggest European trade partner, the burgeoning friendship between the two countries hints that their trade relationship is set to expand.

With the United States pushing to renegotiate NAFTA and Britain potentially leaving the Single European Market, today’s meeting shows that free trade isn’t dead just yet.