A new report says Canada stands to lose as many as 150,000 jobs if it signs a free-trade agreement with the European Union.

A paper written for the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says previous free-trade agreements have widened Canada’s trade deficit by boosting imports more than exports. Canada already has a large trade deficit with the EU, and the imbalance is made worse by the fact that Canada’s exports to the continent largely consist of raw resources, while it imports more technology-intensive products.

The report finds that Canada will lose 28,000 jobs if tariffs are mutually eliminated, and this could leap to 150,000 jobs if the loonie continues to appreciate against the euro.

Canada’s economy would shrink by as much as three per cent if tariffs are eliminated and the Canadian dollar continues to strengthen.

The paper, written by Canadian Auto Workers economist Jim Stanford, says the manufacturing industry would bear the brunt of the impact.

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