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Canada Downplays Signing EU Trade Deal Ahead of G8

TORONTO (AP) -- The prime minister's chief spokesman says he doesn't expect Canada will be in a position to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union when the Canadian leader heads to Europe next week for the G8 summit of world leaders.

Andrew MacDougall said Friday that while the two sides have been negotiating for quite a while, Canada has not reached an agreement it is comfortable with.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper will be in Europe to participate in the June 17-18 summit in Northern Ireland.

Canada is under pressure to conclude a deal before the EU turns its attention to free-trade negotiations with the United States this summer.

Harper hopes to ink a deal with the EU in an attempt to diversify Canada's trade away from the U.S., its largest trading partner.

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