Canada says it’s EU’s ‘job’ to save trade pact
CANADA turned up the heat on the European Union, saying it was the bloc’s “job” to save a trade pact thrown into doubt by a Belgian region’s refusal to sign on.
Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian trade minister, struck a firm tone after leaving last-ditch talks with European parliament head Martin Schulz aimed at salvaging the proposed accord.
“Now the ball is in Europe’s court and it’s time for Europe to finish doing its job,” Ms Freeland said.
Brussels meanwhile scrambled to resolve the impasse as Mr Schulz also had a huddle with Paul Magnette, head of the Wallonia region’s socialist government which is blocking the agreement between Ottawa and the 28-nation bloc.
The pact with Canada known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) would link the EU market of 500 million people with the world’s 10th biggest economy.
The accord was initially scheduled to be signed on October 27 and Mr Schulz insisted that date remained in the diary.
Ms Freeland’s comments fed into warnings that the EU, beset by rising anti-globalisation sentiment, may never be able to land any other deals – including one with the US.
The CETA is opposed by antiglobalisation groups who say it is a test model to push through an even more controversial EU-US trade deal called TTIP, talks on which have also stalled. –