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Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
World | By Ernestine Jimenez

Ceta: EU parliament backs free trade deal with Canada

Ceta: EU parliament backs free trade deal with Canada

Canada's house of commons on Tuesday passed legislation to adopt Ceta.

In 2015, EU-Canada trade accounted for more than €60 billion ($63.4 billion) and CETA is expected to boost this by 20 percent, according to the EP website.

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.

Church, civil society groups and environmentalists in Europe and Canada pledged to continue to protest, after the European Parliament approved a landmark free trade deal with Canada on Wednesday.

Trudeau said after the signing ceremony that "the work is just beginning".

On Friday, he'll be in Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who wasn't shy about reminding Trump the day after his surprise victory that Germany and the USA were "bound" by common values and that she looked forward to working with him on that basis.

Proponents say this will create jobs and reduce the cost of food and consumer goods.

The Canadian Cattleman's Association says the European Union has the potential to become a $600-million market for Canadian beef annually, up from current levels of between $6 million to $10 million per year.

Trade specialists seem to agree the deal, which eliminates 98% of tariffs between the European Union and Canada, will enable Britain to fast-track negotiations with Mr Trudeau.

The EU has held steady as a preferred trade partner among Canadians, second only to the United States. The sadness being only that more trade makes us richer and so in the absence of more trade we'll be poorer than we could be. In 2015 alone, Canada imported $338 billion worth of goods and services from the U.S. against a $325 billion export.

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

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) facilitated it further.

CETA will remove tariffs on most traded goods and services.

But US President Donald Trump as part of his election pledge ordered the withdrawal from TPP and renegotiation of NAFTA.

"This is the right deal at the right time for the world".

The CETA deal could apply provisionally on the first day of the second month following the date both sides have notified each other that they completed all necessary internal procedures.

"There is really widespread discontent about this agreement which is not going to bring any benefit to ordinary people pr the environment and only benefit really only multi-national corporation", said a German demonstrator.

"We believe that the momentum against Ceta will have an impact on the ratification process at member state level, the struggle is not over yet".

The European Parliament has given its agreement for the implementation of the trade agreement with Canada. "We think the value per pound in Europe will be probably one of our highest value markets", he said.

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