European Union Parliament OKs free trade deal with Canada

The Comprehensive Agreement on Trade and Investments with Canada received the support of 408 depitues, 254 voted "against", while 33 abstained.

The agreement will eliminate roughly 98 percent of the tariffs between Canada and the EU.

Malmstrom said CETA would save European exporters millions of euros in tariff fees, and would allow both partners to set rules that will "shape globalization".

Why do we need to review our way of envisaging free trade?

"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".

"Canada is the most European country outside of Europe, especially under the liberal government of Prime Minister Trudeau".

The decision from European Union parliament came as a boon for the Canadian economy as its biggest trade partner and next door neighbour the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and asked to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It bypassed parliamentary scrutiny to sign us up to CETA and has presented, at best, questionable claims on CETA's impacts on the United Kingdom which no one has ever seen.

Marc Tarabella, who leads the delegation of Belgian Socialists in the European Parliament, voted against CETA today and said the changes forced by Magnette improved the deal-but not enough.

The EU is Canada's second-largest trading partner after the US and accounts for almost 10 per cent of its external trade. In 2015 alone, Canada imported $338 billion worth of goods and services from the USA against a $325 billion export. The adoption of an initial strategy to meet the Paris' objectives is already planned for 2018 and an agreement on targets and measures, including an implementation plan, will come about in 2023 once real time data have been analysed.

Final ratification of CETA in the European Union requires the approval of national and even some regional parliaments.

"If the Commission has any political instincts left they will continue to apply it provisionally", said Hosuk Lee-Makayama, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, a Brussels-based thinktank.

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).

  • Jon Douglas