FFAW president hopes Canada-EU trade talks aren't finished

The head of Newfoundland and Labrador's largest private-sector union saws he's disappointed that Canada-EU trade talks have fallen apart.

Opportunities for reduced tariffs, protection for value of fish: Keith Sullivan

FFAW president Keith Sullivan says he hopes Canada-EU trade talks can be revived for the sake of the fishery. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

The head of Newfoundland and Labrador's largest private-sector union said he's disappointed that Canada-EU trade talks have fallen apart.

"It's preliminary, but it doesn't certainly look good for (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) in its current form right now," Keith Sullivan, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union told CBC on Friday.

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland walked out of talks Friday with the regional government of Wallonia, which has been blocking the deal, due to be signed next week.

Sullivan told CBC the deal as it stood was a "mixed bag" for Canadian workers, but he thought there was potential benefit for the fishing industry.

"There was certainly an area where people saw some opportunities where they could get decreased tariffs on some products like shrimp and crab, and that was an opportunity for some people," he said. "So it was certainly mixed, but it might be all for nothing now."

There was certainly an area where people saw some opportunities where they could get decreased tariffs on some products like shrimp and crab.- Keith Sullivan

Sullivan said it was a little surprising that such a large deal could collapse at this point.

"But hopefully we'll take the opportunity, if they're going to go back and do a deal, that it's something that's going to be more beneficial for our workers," he said. "I've no doubt that this deal could be improved, and hopefully if that's the route they go, they'll take those opportunities."

He said he'd like to see fishing tariffs removed and better protection for the price of fish in general.

"I'm not sure what form a new deal would take on, and there's obviously more questions then answers at this point, but if it is considered again, I think it's important for the Canadian government to engage with people who are going to be affected by this deal."