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Big business behind Canada-EU trade deal

OTTAWA - The heads of Canada's leading business lobby groups are urging the federal government to get on with negotiating a free trade deal with Europe.

The groups issued a letter to Trade Minister Ed Fast telling him the government can count on them to stand behind the deal, once it is negotiated, and to help sell it to workers and communities across Canada.

The letter s signed by heads of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Canada-Europe Roundtable for Business and the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters.

Jayson Myers, who heads the manufacturers and exporters group, says the business community is anxious that a deal be signed quickly because it will take many months and even years to ratify.

But an insider with the coalition says that there is also growing concern about lack of progress, saying that politicians need a push to make the brave decisions needed to cement a deal.

Since negotiations began almost four years ago, the talks have missed several deadlines including the most recent pledge to complete an agreement by the end of 2012.

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