OTTAWA - Canada is pushing European Union countries to drop subsidies for agricultural products at talks aimed at reaching a bilateral free-trade agreement.
At the same time, European countries want Canada to get rid of its supply management systems for dairy, poultry and egg products, something Trade Minister Stockwell Day insists is not on the table.
Some experts, however, say reaching a deal would be almost impossible and call the talks a waste of time and money.
Michael Hart at Carleton University's Centre for Trade Policy and Law says the talks are nothing more than a political exercise.
Canadian and EU officials completed their first week of formal trade talks last week, discussions which Day describes as tough but productive.
Day says export subsides distort trade, and he wants them reduced or eliminated.
Canada is hoping a deal can be reached within two years.
As recently as last week, European farmer were protesting EU plans to limit agricultural subsidies over the next few years, with a view toward scrapping them altogether.