Belgium split over EU-Canada trade deal

Dhaka,  Wed,  07 December 2016
Published : 18 Oct 2016, 17:02:11

Belgium split over EU-Canada trade deal

Belgium's Trade Minister Didier Reynders says EU leaders may agree on a landmark EU-Canada trade deal this week - but only if objections from his country's Wallonia region can be met, reports BBC.

EU trade ministers are discussing the Ceta deal in Luxembourg, and Wallonia's concerns cannot be ignored. Belgium's national government backs the deal.

Walloon MPs say Ceta favours Canadian firms and they want more safeguards for Belgian farmers.

It is the EU's biggest trade deal yet.

Going into the Luxembourg meeting, Reynders said: "The federal government is in favour [of Ceta] but we have to convince particularly Wallonia.

"I'm in permanent contact with the Walloon prime minister. I hope we'll be able to move forward at the summit."

Trade will be a major issue at the two-day EU summit in Brussels, which starts on Thursday.

EU leaders hope to sign Ceta - the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement - with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on 27 October. The negotiations started in 2009.

Some UK politicians see Ceta as a possible model for a Brexit deal with the EU. It will not allow the degree of EU market access that UK services currently enjoy. And Ceta does not involve EU-style free movement of people.

Walloon PM Paul Magnette said he was expecting the European Commission to present an additional text addressing his region's concerns.

On Friday the Walloon parliament, representing 3.6m people, voted against Ceta.

-    TS

 
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