potinsnews.com March 25, 2017

European Parliament approves trade deal with Canada

16 February 2017, 12:49 | Jamie Ballard

MEPs will vote on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement tomorrow

MEPs will vote on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement tomorrow

Negotiated for almost five years and four months, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada was overwhelmingly voted in by the European Parliament.

Bulgarian MEP and Party of European Socialists leader Sergei Stanishev voted against the party line by casting his ballot in favour of the EU-Canada CETA deal in the European Parliament on February 15 - a move he made by mistake.

MEPs meeting in Strasbourg, France, approved the pact with 408 votes in favor, 254 against and 33 abstentions.

To allay citizens' concerns that the deal gives too much power to multinational companies and that governments will not be able to legislate to protect health, safety or the environment, the European Union and Canada recognise in both the preamble to the deal and an attached joint declaration that its provisions apply without prejudice to the domestic right to regulate.

On the back of these concerns, the ISDS system has now been replaced with a new investment court system (ICS).

The parliament backed key elements of the proposed changes to the EU's flagship emissions reduction system, which seek to rebalance the market by tightening supply over time, while protecting industry from worldwide competition.

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Kevin Auch, chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission, says the trade deal will give Canada a large competitive advantage over the U.S. - Canada's biggest competition - because it will eliminate any tariffs imposed on Canadian production.

In 2016, the European Union exported $39 billion of goods and services to Canada and imported $30 billion, according to Statistics Canada.

Canada has a trade deficit with the United States as it imports more from its southern neighbour than any other country.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called the vote "an important milestone" and said "EU companies and citizens will start to reap the benefits the agreement offers as soon as possible". The EU trade agreement with South Korea was ratified by national governments four-and-a-half years after most of the deal had already gone into effect. We therefore must ensure a progressive precedent for future trade deals which prioritises human rights, jobs and environmental rules.

The vote comes at a particularly sensitive time for global trade matters, with Britain poised to leave the European Union and new USA president Trump rejecting an Asia-Pacific trade deal.

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