European Union parliament approves landmark CETA free-trade deal with Canada

At precisely 12:00, 408 MEPs out of 695 present approved the basic premise of the CETA agreement, in the form it was tabled by EPP's rapporteur Artis Pabriks.

Members of the European Parliament remain divided over an overhaul to the carbon market after a debate in the assembly on Monday, EU sources said, setting the stage for a tight vote on the reforms later this week.

European Union ratification now paves the way for 90 per cent of the agreement to come into action once the Canadian government follows suit in the next few months. Three years of negotiations on an EU-U.S. trade deal have been put on hold since Trump took office in January and let loose proposals for American import taxes.

The landmark EU-Canada trade deal which aims to boost goods, services and investment has been given the green light by MEPs today (February 15).

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a progressive free trade agreement which covers virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-EU trade in order to eliminate or reduce barriers. During the planned provisional application of the accord, controversial provisions on protection for foreign investors won't apply.

"We are proponents of open trade policies", said Sarah Dickson, global affairs director, SWA.

"I now call on all member states to conduct an inclusive and thorough discussion at national level with the relevant stakeholders in the context of the national ratification process of the agreement".

CETA will remove 99 percent of customs duties between the two sides, benefiting European exporters.

"Trade is a good thing for the world", he said.

Criticised by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during the signature of CETA, the president of Walloon party CDH, Benoît Lutgen, has repeated that there had been insinuations about negative consequences for the region if it continued to veto the trade treaty with Canada.

"A glimmer of hope now comes from the many national and regional parliaments across all of the European Union that still have to ratify CETA".

Though the Liberal government might be claiming credit for the agreement, Wednesday's resolution was years in the making, with the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper initiating contact and doing most of the tough negotiating.

The European Parliament on Wednesday adopted draft reforms of Europe's carbon market after 2021, a key step in reaching the bloc's climate change goals. Together we can build bridges, instead of a wall, for the prosperity of our citizens.

  • Leroy Wright