The two sides have signed a memorandum of understanding, which should be a key step towards resolving a long-running dispute over Canadian hormone-treated beef.
The Canadians will lift sanctions on EU exporters, while the EU’s duty-free tariff rate quota of high-quality Canadian beef imports will be increased by 1.5t until August next year, with a further increase possible in 2013.
Canada has imposed almost 100% duties on EU products, primarily meat, since the sanctions came into effect in 1999, and this has netted over C$11m.
The dispute, which dates back to 1996, arose over an EU ban on US and Canadian beef from animals administered with certain growth-promoting hormones. In 1998, the World Trade Organisation ruled that this violated trade rules, opening the way for the US and Canada to impose sanctions on the EU. The EU argued that the ban had scientific grounding and it was therefore able to impose the restriction within existing trade rules.
The row with the US was resolved in 2009.