World Bulletin / News Desk
The EU was unable to ratify a free trade deal with Canada on Tuesday, Canadian media reported.
But optimism remains that the agreement will be endorsed by the time Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives next week for the official signing of the deal, The Associated Press (AP) said, as reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada’s national news organization.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was placed in jeopardy after the Wallonia region in Belgium – concerned the deal would hurt the country’s farming and industrial sectors by the import of cheaper Canadian goods – vetoed the deal late last week. The agreement requires unanimous approval by all 28 EU countries. Belgium can agree only if its three regions approve the deal.
Up to now, negotiations among EU nations have been handled by foreign trade ministers, but EU leaders will take over to try to broker a deal when they assemble Thursday for a two-day summit.
“It is up to the EU (summit) to settle these final reservations,” said Slovakian foreign trade minister Peter Ziga.
Trudeau will travel to Brussels Oct. 27, where he is supposed to sign the agreement between 500 million EU citizens and 35 million Canadians.
The EU fears a loss of credibility if a deal is killed by one region of 28 nations.
“If we don’t agree with Canada, with whom are we going to agree?” Ziga said. “I don’t understand. Belgium is a country that built the European Union from the very beginning” when trade was a key ingredient of the formation of the EU.
Germany expressed optimism that the deal would be signed.
“I don’t think that the agreement can fail,” said Sigmar Gabriel, German economic minister.
In Ottawa, Canada’s International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters that Canada is “cautiously optimistic. But at this point, the ball is very much in the European court.”
Supporters said the deal would produce billions of dollars in added trade thanks to tariff cuts while safeguarding social, environmental and labor issues.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Ekim 2016, 09:11