EU, Canada sign delayed free trade deal
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