POLITICS
02/26/2012 05:28 EST | Updated 04/27/2012 05:12 EDT

Federal, provincial ministers to meet on trade agenda after one-year hiatus

OTTAWA - Trade Minister Ed Fast will be attempting to get the provinces on side with his ambitious international trade agenda this week.

The federal minister is getting his provincial and territorial counterparts for a one-day meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday to discuss Canada's trade priorities going forward. The meeting did not happen last year due to scheduling difficulties.

Topping on the agenda is the free trade negotiations with the European Union — the first such agreement that included the provinces directly in the talks and requires their approval.

Reports are that the talks are entering the final stages and could be completed by this summer.

Fast also wants to hear provincial views on Canadian trade initiatives in Asia, where Ottawa is seeking to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership process in a new, lucrative trading block.

Analysts believe the sticking point on TPP is Canada's protectionist supply management regime on eggs, dairy and poultry products, which would likely require backing from Quebec and Ontario to amend.