Canada and EU may finally sign trade deal amid Brexit concerns

Posted in Google Brexit News
at 2016.10.22
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Canada and EU may finally sign trade deal amid Brexit concerns

A free-trade deal between Canada and the EU may finally be signed next week, following emergency talks early on Saturday.

The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, told reporters: “We are ready to sign on Thursday next week.” 

The prolonged, seven-year talks may have caused concern in Whitehall over the UK’s ability to forge a trade deal with the EU following Brexit. 

In the news conference, Mr Schulz admitted the issues has been on this side of the Atlantic: “The problems on the table are European problems and we have to solve it. 

“I’m very optimistic that we can solve the problems we have within the European Union.”

He added that it had “perhaps” been a “decisive” meeting. 

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Canada’s Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said: “From Canada’s perspective, our work is done.

“We have finished negotiating a very good agreement, and Canada is ready to sign this agreement.” 

Ms Freeland added: “Now the ball is in Europe’s court, and it’s time for Europe to finish doing its job. We very much hope that that will happen.” 

Addressing the timetable, Ms Freeland told journalists: “I very much hope that I will be able to return here in just a few days, to Europe, with my Prime Minister, to sign this agreement on the 27 of October.” 

The Wallonian parliament has rejected the CETA agreement Image Caption: The Wallonian parliament rejected the CETA agreement

The new sense of optimism is in stark contrast to the situation on Friday, when Ms Freeland walked out of talks.

“It is now evident to me, evident to Canada,” she said, “that the European Union is incapable of reaching an agreement – even with a country with European values such as Canada. 

“Canada is disappointed and I personally am disappointed, but I think it’s impossible.” 

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The sticking point has been a region in southern Belgium – Wallonia – which objected to the deal, despite all 28 national governments in the EU being in favour of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). 

Those backing the deal say it could increase trade by 20%. 

Belgium, however, needs agreement from its five sub-federal administrations, including Wallonia, which has a population of about 3.5 million people. 

Concerns in the French-speaking region include rising pork and beef imports from Canada. 

It was not clear on Saturday morning how progress had been made, but Mr Schulz said he would be speaking to Wallonia’s Minister-President, Paul Magnette. 

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The Prime Minister, Theresa May, told reporters after her first EU summit this week that it was “important” the bloc concluded its deal with Canada. 

Nevertheless, Mrs May said any potential UK deal with the EU would not be based on the Canadian model. 

The PM told reporters: “From the UK’s point of view, we’re not looking to replicate a model that another country has. 

“What we want is to develop what is a new relationship for the UK when we’re outside the EU. 

“What we want is to ensure that we have the right deal for the United Kingdom.

“And I’m optimistic about that,” the PM added.  

“I’m optimistic that we can achieve a deal that is right for the UK because I actually think the deal that’s right for the UK will also be right for the European Union.” 

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Published at Sat, 22 Oct 2016 09:40:35 +0000

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