Canada still hopeful of trade deal with EU
CANADIAN Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland remains hopeful that a landmark Canada-EU trade deal will be signed despite pushback from a region of Belgium.
“CETA is not dead,” Ms Freeland said after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke by telephone with European Council President Donald Tusk.
Mr Trudeau is still planning to fly to Brussels tomorrow to sign the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.
In a statement, the prime minister said: “The EU and its member states should continue to work towards the summit in Brussels on Thursday where the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement will be signed.”
Leaders of Wallonia, a 3.5million-strong French-speaking region of Belgium, have prevented Belgium from supporting the pact, effectively putting the brakes on EU plans to ratify it.
Fearing a flood of agricultural imports, they want more discussions to produce iron-clad reassurances that CETA will not harm local interests.
They have also criticised the terms of the deal intended to protect international investors which, they say, could allow them to force governments to change laws against the wishes of the people.
The European Commission said earlier there was still time to conclude the agreement despite fears in some quarters it was now close to collapse. –