Daily Management Review

After Belgian 'Non', EU, Canada Still Hope to Sign Trade Deal


10/25/2016




After Belgian 'Non', EU, Canada Still Hope to Sign Trade Deal
The European Union and Canada still appeared to be holding out hopes of a summit to sign off on the deal despite Belgium declaring on Monday that it could not formally back a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada because of an internal dispute.
 
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which needs the unanimous support of all 28 EU nations to be approved, is opposed by Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region
 
The EU-Canada summit on Thursday to sign the pact with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be cancelled if Belgium could not overcome that opposition until late on Monday, the EU had aid.
 
However European Council President Donald Tusk said he and Trudeau still believed the summit could go ahead even after Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said he could not give consent. But European Council President Donald Tusk said he and Trudeau still believed the summit could go ahead.
 
"Together with PM @JustinTrudeau, we think Thursday's summit still possible. We encourage all parties to find a solution. There's yet time," Tusk said in a tweet.
 
The Canadian prime minister and Tusk agreed to stay in close contact "in the coming hours and days", a Trudeau spokesman said in Ottawa.

"CETA isn't dead" but she sidestepped questions about what would happen if the EU failed to come to an agreement this week. We wish them well and we hope they can get there ... this deal is done - it's time to move on, get it signed and then get it ratified," she told reporters in the Canadian capital,” said Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland.
 
A meeting of the heads of Belgium's regions and linguistic communities was called by Michel, whose federal government backs the agreement.
 
"We cannot give a 'Yes'," Wallonia premier Paul Magnette told reporters afterwards. The problem is with the EU authorities and not Ottawa, which has already agreed to modifications in the deal, he said.
 
While Dutch- and German-speakers back Michel's centre-right coalition, weight behind the Walloons has been thrown by other Socialist Party-led authorities, including those of the bilingual capital Brussels.
 
A trade deal with Canada, the EU's 12th-largest trading partner, is not the primary issue according to many.
 
The image of a bloc already battered by Britain's vote to leave it and disputes over Europe's migration crisis would be undermined if CETA fails and the EU's hopes of completing similar deals with the United States or Japan would be in tatters.
 
"These are dark days for European trade policy. This blockade is undermining the trust of international partners in the EU," said Ulrich Grillo, president of the Federation of German Industries.
The situation was called a real shame by Geert Bourgeois, premier of the Dutch-speaking Flanders region.
 
"We're the laughing stock of the whole world. It's bad for Wallonia, for Flanders, for Belgium, for Europe, for the whole world," he told reporters after the meeting.
 
They are willing to keep talking with the Walloons, say EU negotiators. Saying the problems were internal ones for the Europeans to sort out, Freeland left in frustration after talks in the regional capital, Namur, on Friday.
 
"A reasonable time frame would be the end of the year. With that, we could get there," Andre Antoine, the Walloon parliament speaker, told Reuters earlier on Monday adding that more time was needed.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com) 






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