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European Union Parliament OKs free trade deal with Canada

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As Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau travels to Strasbourg to deliver a speech on Thursday (16 February), the European Union and Canada are eager to show they still promote open and free global trade.

MEPs overwhelmingly supported the deal with 408 in favor and 254 against. Foreign trade has emerged as a top policy priority for both the Trudeau government and the European Union, which held up CETA's approval vote Wednesday as a sign the bloc still supports free trade.

In 2015 EU-Canada trade accounted for more than €60 billion and Ceta is expected to boost this by 20 per cent.

"The whole world benefits from a strong European Union". The national parliaments still have to ratify it over the coming months, and possibly years.

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Trudeau will use his keynote address to warn that more needs to be done to address the anxieties of middle-class people who aren't getting ahead, because if nothing is done to ease those concerns, the world will have larger problems on its hands, officials say.

Following the approval by parliament, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was due to address MEPs in person yesterday.

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The Conference Board of Canada called the agreement good for both sides, since economic history demonstrates that greater free movement of goods, services and people is a catalyst for economic growth.

Opponents to CETA slam the deal as a "trojan horse" to big business and a danger to health, democracy and the rule of law.

Ceta is seen by many in Canada as important to reduce its reliance on the United States as an export market.

Some industries are left untouched.

According to the European Parliament's site, "CETA will not remove tariff barriers in the fields of public services, audio-visual and transport services, or from certain agricultural products such as dairy, poultry, and eggs".

The Netherlands could conceivably still block the deal if it demands an advisory national referendum. Being the only committee recommending to vote against the deal, it argued CETA falls short with regard to job creation. He added: "If we are successful, Ceta will become the blueprint for all ambitious, future trade deals". CETA will not bring more than 0.018 percent more employment for the 28 member countries, but will cause considerable sectoral dislocation, Gregori Pirinski (S&D), rapporteur for the Labour Committee, said. "Would the 28 really sign something that was so risky for their citizens?" she told AFP in an interview.

The agreement with Canada has become a test case for the EU's political credibility and commercial heft since Britain voted to leave the bloc, a Belgian region almost scuttled the Canadian accord and Trump turned the U.S.'s back on multilateral trade pacts.

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