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Trudeau warns European Union over CETA reluctance

Trudeau warns European Union over CETA reluctance

Lawmakers in the small Belgian region of Wallonia on Friday voted to block an EU-Canada trade deal in a move with serious implications for future trade talks with the United States and a non-EU Britain.

On Wednesday, the francophone parliament of the Federation of Wallonia-Brussels voted to reject the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

Opponents of CETA had appealed to the high court to stop the German government from approving the agreement at a meeting of European Union trade ministers next Tuesday, ahead of Trudeau's visit. "But I'm confident that there are so many strong European countries, like France as we saw, Germany is fully on board, and others, that this deal is going to make it through".

Germany's highest - said the government must ensure that only parts of CETA within the competence of the European Union, such as the removal of tariffs, should be allowed to apply provisionally - meaning before it is ratified by EU member states. Environmental activists and trade unions have all warned such global deals could worsen local standards for food, work and industry.

"It's a scandal that there is an attempt to force through a vote on CETA by December, taking away the democratic scrutiny that is essential to a deal as wide-ranging and controversial as CETA". Meanwhile, Romania has said its support for CETA was dependent on Canada agreeing to a separate deal on visa-free travel between the two countries, and both Slovenia and Hungary have voiced opposition to some of the technical provisions of the agreement.

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While paving the way for the closure of the deal at the Canada-EU summit end of the month, the German judges also tasked the government with making a binding declaration on its ability to withdraw from CETA unilaterally in case the court ruled CETA unconstitutional in the following principle proceedings.

Canadian envoy David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the International Trade Minister, was in the Walloon region on Thursday talking to local leaders and trying to persuade them to not prevent the passage of CETA.

A European official said Walloon legislators remain convinced that CETA will be bad for their region, and that it was negotiated with big businesses in mind rather than the small- and medium-sized enterprises, or farmers, in the Walloon region.

It would also inevitably lead to the world asking: "What's the point of the European Union?" Moreover, Trudeau alleged that "in this post-Brexit [vote] situation, where there are a great many questions about Europe's usefulness, if Europe can not manage to sign this agreement, then that sends a very clear message". A landmark trade deal with Canada is at the mercy this week of a decision in Belgium's sub-region of a few million.

"We have stopped reviewing the documents as they're now moot", the spokesman for Prime Minister Oliver Paasch said from the regional capital Eupen.

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