POLITICS

Newfoundland premier says talks with Ottawa about EU trade deal back on

06/04/2013 03:28 EDT | Updated 08/04/2013 05:12 EDT
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Talks between Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa about a trade agreement with the European Union appear to be back on track after the province, Premier Kathy Dunderdale said Tuesday.

Dunderdale said last week that her province was being pressured by federal officials to forfeit minimum seafood processing requirements that protect local fishery jobs in order to ease trade talks with Europe. She said that nearly scuttled talks for the $1-billion loan guarantee for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project last fall.

But Dunderdale said Tuesday there is now "alignment" with Ottawa after the province developed a position on the seafood processing issue that federal negotiators will take to Brussels.

"We had to really draw a line in the sand and say we were going to represent the best interests of our province," she said. "We weren't going to compromise that in any way, regardless of what the benefits might be for the rest of the country."

She didn't provide details, but said her province has clearly laid out its concerns and where it is willing to be flexible.

Dunderdale said she thinks a final deal with the Europeans could be a week to 10 days away.

(VOCM)