February 18, 2016 8:29 pm

Trudeau expects Canada-EU free deal to be signed this year

PM Trudeau says a new Canada-EU trade deal should be signed this year.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he expects the ambitious free trade deal between Canada and the European Union to be signed this year.

When it is it ratified later, it will be an important milestone in relations between Canada and the 28-country European block.

Canada’s chief negotiator has said he expects the deal, known as CETA, to be ratified sometime next year.

Trudeau offered his assessment during a brief speech at an event marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and the European Union.

Earlier this week, Canada’s chief CETA negotiator Steve Verhuel said Canada is working with the EU to revise controversial investor protection provisions in the deal at the direction of the Trudeau government.

The Europeans first raised the matter with Canada after political opposition arose in Europe in 2014 over the chapter that deals with settling disputes between companies and governments, known as ISDS, he said.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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