With negotiations dragging into a fifth year, Canadian executives are warning Harper may be running out of time to complete his signature trade agreement amid concern that talks with the U.S. will leapfrog Canada as a priority for Europe . To resolve difficult outstanding issues in any trade negotiation, ultimately it requires negotiations at the most senior level, said Lawrence Herman, a former senior Canadian trade official who now works at law firm Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP in Toronto. Given the size of the pact, it is critical for the prime minister to become directly involved. Herman said it was a tactic former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was forced to use with President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s when reached a deadlock during negotiations for the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement. Significant Differences Canada-U.S. negotiators were unable to resolve a number of key issues and the only way those issues could be unblocked and move to resolution was for Brian Mulroney to engage directly with the president on this matter, Herman said. Carl Vallee, a spokesman for Harper, declined to comment on the prime ministers involvement. Our government will only sign an agreement that is in the best interest of Canada, Vallee said today by e-mail. The push by Harper comes after he met Barroso on the sidelines of the Group of 20 leaders summit in St. Petersburg , Russia . Harper told reporters following the Sept. 6 meeting that significant differences remain in the negotiations. Discussions continue — at all the necessary levels — as both sides work to conclude these important negotiations as soon as possible, John Clancy , the commissions trade spokesman, said in an e-mail from Brussels today. Beef, Pork One of the biggest sticking points for Canada is access for the countrys beef and pork producers, a concession that faces resistance from France and Ireland, two of Europes biggest meat suppliers.

Canada August Inflation Slows to 1.1% on Mortgages, Drugs

Baird. The meetings took place in the context of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians that were relaunched last month after a five-year hiatus marked by frustration, anger and conflict. Mr. al-Maliki admitted he had mixed feelings about making his first trip to Ottawa given the Conservative governments strong opposition to the Palestinians bid for non-member state status at the UN this past November. Canada was one of only a handful of countries to vote against the resolution and lobbied other countries to vote against it as well. There was also concern about Mr. Bairds meeting with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in April in East Jerusalem, which Canada and much of the rest of the world considers occupied territory belonging to the Palestinians. Visiting East Jerusalem and visiting the office of Tzipi Livni there, even if it was for a coffee, it was really violating international law, Mr. al-Maliki said. But the Palestinian minister said he was pleasantly surprised by the reception he received from the Conservative government during his trip. And either I want to stay hostage to actions that have happened and keep the Canadian-Palestinian relationship hostage to such events, he said, or liberate that relationship from what happened and to see if there is any possibility for engagement. Related Youll face consequences from Canada if you take Israel to International Criminal Court: Baird to Palestinians I believe that the Canadian government, that the foreign minister himself, felt that there are common issues with Palestine and there is space that can be developed with Palestine, Mr. al-Maliki added.

Economic optimism among executive professional accountants at its highest level in two years: CPA Canada Business Monitor

The central banks key lending rate has been 1 percent for three years, the longest pause since the 1950s, and economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict Poloz wont raise borrowing costs until the second half of 2014. I dont see the case to be really worried about inflation and that backs a dovish Bank of Canada for a long time, Derek Holt , vice president and economist at Scotiabank in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. The Canadian dollar fell 0.2 percent to C$1.0290 per U.S. dollar at 9:36 a.m. in Toronto. One dollar buys 97.18 U.S. cents. Government bond yields declined with two-year yields falling 2 basis points to 1.23 percent and five year notes by 1 basis point to 2.01 percent. The slower year-over-year total and core inflation rates matched the median estimates in Bloomberg economist surveys. Mortgage interest costs fell 3.6 percent in August from a year earlier while prescribed medicines declined 4.2 percent, according to the report. Major price increases included a 9.5 percent jump in natural gas and a 1.7 percent rise in rental costs. Cheaper Phones On a monthly basis, consumer prices were unchanged in August as clothing costs rose 1.9 percent and telephone services declined 1.7 percent.

Canada’s Harper Said to Step Up Involvement in EU Talks

economy is viewed as the biggest challenge to economic growth by survey respondents (43 per cent) followed by uncertainty surrounding the Canadian economy (18 per cent). Company optimism is up slightly from last quarter. Fifty per cent are optimistic about how their company will perform over the next 12 months compared with 47 per cent the previous quarter. No significant changes are emerging in projections for revenues and profits with the majority of respondents still anticipating increases. Sixty-four per cent of respondents expect their revenues to grow in the next year and 59 per cent are forecasting an increase in profits. Employment Projections Down Despite an increase in economic optimism, the third quarter survey found that fewer respondents are forecasting an increase in employee numbers at their companies. Thirty-four per cent of the respondents expect employee numbers at their company to increase in the next 12 months, down from 40 per cent the previous quarter. Forty-seven per cent of the respondents anticipate no change and 19 per cent expect a drop. Looking forward, some hiring challenges may be looming. Two-thirds of those surveyed believe that Canada does not have enough skilled workers and professionals to fill certain positions. In addition, roughly seven-in-ten (71 per cent) anticipate that their organization will have difficulty filling a skilled position over the next two years: 39 per cent referenced skilled trades, 22 per cent middle management, 15 per cent professional positions, 14 per cent senior management and 11 per cent stated other. More than one response could be provided. Twenty-nine per cent of those surveyed do not anticipate difficulty in filling any types of skilled positions.