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Cooperation   200 trade officials from 42 countries

EU, Canada start seeking partners for trade investment court

Chrystia FreelandThe European Commission and the Canadian government appealed on Tuesday for other trading partners to join their planned investment court.

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Canada and the Commission, which negotiates trade agreements for the 28 EU members, have committed to setting up a permanent investment court to settle disputes, but need to bring in others for this to be a truly international body.

Both invited some 200 trade officials from 42 countries including the United States, China, India, Mexico and Argentina and others in Asia and Africa for a discussion of its idea at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom will also address the initiative with other trade ministers at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 20.

"We're not trying to force this on other countries," said a Commission source, adding that the court would need more participants than just the EU, Canada and Vietnam, whose trade deal with the EU also refers to such a court. "It will be not be 150, but we're looking at more like 10, 15, 20."

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