EU – Canada trade agreement signed
European Union and Canada signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA. It will remove approximately 99 percent of customs duties in trade between the parties, most of non-tariff barriers and liberalise trade in services.
The document was signed by the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the Prime Minister of Slovakia, currently holding the presidency of the EU, Robert Fico.
The summit and signing of the agreement was delayed as the Belgian francophone Walloon Region was against CETA; Belgian federal government needed approval of all the regions and language communities to sign the agreement.
Only after a compromise was reached between the Belgian government and the regions, it was accepted by the Walloon parliament. It opened the door to signing the agreement by the EU.
The agreement requires ratification by EU member states’ parliaments and the European Parliament. Still, some of its provisions, mostly regarding customs duties, will be temporarily implemented even before the ratification process is finished.
According to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, the importance of the economic and trade CETA agreement goes beyond trade issues and shows that disintegration of the West is not a stable tendency. The importance of the CETA agreement goes beyond trade issues. The controversies around CETA make us realise the priority task should be providing people with convincing information about free trade. Citizens need to be convinced that free trade is in the interest of everybody and not just big corporations.
What is more, according to Tusk, free trade and globalisation protected millions of people against poverty and famine, and humankind – against a total conflict. “The problem is, not many people understand this” – he said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that concluding the CETA agreement is opening a new chapter in EU – Canada relations. He explained that the inhabitants of the EU and Canada will almost immediately feel the benefits arising from the agreement.
Moreover, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker stressed that elimination of almost all customs duties guaranteed by the agreement will bring European exporters of industry and farming goods savings in the amount of almost 500 million euro a year. Simultaneously, they will protect everything EU and Canada inhabitants care about: sensible work conditions, health and security, cultural diversity and quality of the environment” – he added.
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