EU, Canada sign de­layed free trade deal

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

BRUSSELS: The EU and Canada fi­nally signed a land­mark free trade deal seven years in the mak­ing on Sun­day, af­ter over­com­ing last­minute re­sis­tance from a small Bel­gian re­gion that nearly tor­pe­doed the en­tire agree­ment.

Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau flew to Brussels for a cer­e­mony that had been pushed back from Thurs­day af­ter Wal­lo­nia, with its pop­u­la­tion of 3.6 mil­lion, ini­tially ve­toed a pact af­fect­ing more than 500 mil­lion peo­ple. But in a sign of the fierce pas­sions aroused by the gi­ant Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic and Trade Agree­ment (Ceta), pro­test­ers burst through riot po­lice lines and hurled red paint at the EU’s head­quar­ters.

“That I be here to­day or three days ago is not go­ing to make a huge dif­fer­ence in the grand scheme of the real im­pact it’s go­ing to have for this good deal to move for­ward,” Trudeau said af­ter sign­ing the pact with lead­ers of the EU in­sti­tu­tions.

Cheers erupted as they inked a lon­gan­tic­i­pated deal that will re­move 99% of cus­toms du­ties be­tween the two sides. – AFP

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