Canada-EU Trade Deal Serves Warning Ahead Of Brexit Talks

Despite seven years of massive grassroots mobilization and a petition with over 3.5 million signatures, the European Parliament voted to approve the highly controversial Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the European Union and Canada.

While Scotch already benefits from zero tariffs, the CETA deal would reduce barriers to entry for producers, cutting trading restrictions, boosting intellectual property rights for European Union products in Canada, and removing the "market distorting impact" of the Canadian liquor boards, the SWA says.

But the poll, conducted by the public interest research Angus Reid Institute, also noted growing uncertainty and a softening in support, with more than one in three people saying they "don't know" how they feel about the EU-Canada deal.

CETA will remove 99 percent of customs duties between the two sides, a big win for European exporters.

"We can not imagine a better partner than Canada, the most European country outside the union", she said.

If the reform proposal fails to pass Wednesday's vote, it will delay the start of negotiations with member states to finalise the legislation.

"President Trump has given us another good reason to intensify our links with Canada - while Trump introduces tariffs, we are not only tearing them down but also setting the highest progressive standards", said Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the ALDE liberal group.

If MEPs back the pact, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to address the parliament in Strasbourg, France on Thursday.

Trudeau's arrival comes as the anti-trade movement is gaining ground in Europe and with Trump's protectionist "America first" posture that has killed the USA free trade negotiations with Europe, as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would have spanned 12 Pacific Rim countries, including Canada.

Critics say it could dilute standards for food safety or labor rights by giving more power to big corporations.

Another anti-trade group, the Corporate Europe Observatory, called Wednesday's vote a sad day for democracy.

AP video journalist Oleg Cetinic contributed from Strasbourg, France.

  • Zachary Reyes