The EU and Canada Will Sign CETA Tomorrow- an Important Win for Europe

The European Union has been in need of some good news for a long, long time. Between the debt crisis, refugee crisis, Brexit and the insurgency in Ukraine, the EU hasn’t had it easy for a while. It looks as though the US-EU trade agreement, TTIP, is doomed for failure no matter who wins the Presidential election on 8 November, but Europe’s free trade agreement with Canada is finally ready to be signed.


After a strange and tumultuous week where a regional parliament in the Belgian federal state of Wallonia vetoed the agreement to hold up its ratification and trudeau-tweetCanadian PM Justin Trudeau cancelled his trip to Brussels to sign the deal, both parties can finally put pen to paper and lift barriers on trade for their economies.

The EU and Canada are natural trading partners. Both economies are open and free and, besides economics, share many similar cultural values in regards to rule of law, democratic institutions, and a commitment to a wide range of freedoms and rights unique to such progressive democracies.

CETA will eliminate 98% of trade barriers between the European and Canadian economies, which will save EU exporters an annual average of €600 million. The passage of CETA allows EU firms to bid on Canadian contracts, regulations will be jointly considered, tariffs on agricultural exports are eliminated immediately and European standards applied, and removes all barriers to investment into the Canadian market.

Like with all trade deals, there is vocal opposition. Movements across Europe called for CETA and TTIP to be scrapped due to preference for certain industries like energy and finance. Anti-globalisation protests have put pressure on trade negotiations and MEP’s from the Greens and United Left helped lead many of the anti-CETA movements. Opposition to the trade deal crescendoed when the French-speaking Belgian region of Wallonia refused to approve the deal. The southern region gave their approval Friday after tense negotiations with the federal government and EU and Canadian officials.


The summit will be hosted by the European Commission in Brussels on Sunday, where EU leaders and Mr Trudeau will sign the accord, with Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freehand also on hand for the ceremony.

Many in the UK Government have been called on to emulate an agreement like CETA when they negotiate free trade deals post-Brexit. Until the UK invokes Article 50 and formally withdraws from the EU, it will benefit from CETA.

Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated that she will invoke Article 50 in March 2017.

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