Trudeau ’optimistic’ about Canada-EU trade deal amid Brexit fears
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he remains “optimistic” about the ratification of the Canada-EU trade agreement, just as the European Commission announced the deal would have to be approved by each of the European Union’s 28 member states.
The trade deal, known as the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), has received support among many EU leaders, but there has been growing opposition from several countries, including Germany and France.
The recent decision by British voters to leave the EU also cast further uncertainty over the future of the deal.
Speaking in Montreal Tuesday, Trudeau said he was feeling optimistic about the deal despite an announcement from the European Commission that plans to fast-track approval of the trade deal will be abandoned.
“With the situation going on right now and the perceptions around the EU, it’s going to be very important for them to demonstrate an ability to move forward on deals that are going to be good for their citizens, good for businesses and good for international trade in general and that’s why I continue to be very, very optimistic about this,” Trudeau said in Montreal on Tuesday.
“The approach that the EU is moving forward on is a positive one. It’s going to lead to the coming into force of CETA rapidly after ratification and I’m very optimistic that all of the hard work we’ve been doing over the past month to make sure that we are continuing to be able to move forward on this continues.”
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EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker lauded the deal in a statement Tuesday calling it “our best and most progressive trade agreement” and adding it should be passed “as soon as possible.”
“I have looked at the legal arguments and I have listened to heads of state or government and to national parliaments. Now it is time to deliver. The credibility of Europe’s trade policy is at stake,” he said.
But the Commission backed away from earlier statements that CETA would only need support from European Union governments and the European Parliament to go ahead.
“[CETA’s] full entering into force will be subject to the conclusion by the EU, through a Council decision with the consent of the European Parliament, and by all member states through the relevant national ratification procedures,” the Commission said.
Proponents of the deal say it could boost Canada’s trade revenue by $12 billion annually and increase access to European markets by removing tariffs on several goods and services.
The deal is scheduled to be signed by EU leaders and Prime Minister Trudeau at the end of October in Brussels and could be implemented as early as 2017.
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