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Belgium break deadlock over EU-Canada trade pact

Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 01:31

Belgium has agreed a deal with its regional parliaments to approve a landmark EU-Canada free trade agreement, breaking a deadlock that has blocked the pact for weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the heads of the regions have drawn up an addendum to the agreement that answered their concerns over the rights of farmers and governments.

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It's not a done deal yet but it could be . Belgium has agreed with its regional parliaments to approve a landmark EU-Canada free trade agreement. (SOUNDBITE) (French) MINISTER-PRESIDENT OF THE WALLOON GOVERNMENT, PAUL MAGNETTE, SAYING : "Wallonia is extremely happy that its demands were heard. We always fought for treaties that strengthen social, environmental norms and protect public services." The Belgium region of Wallonia, and the capital Brussels, were concerned about the rights of farmers and governments. They feared CETA would give too much power to global corporate interests. Concessions were agreed to the relief of countries keen to see a deal. Germany in particular is looking forward to the removal of 98 percent of the tariffs between Canada and the EU. (SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD OF CAPITAL MARKETS ANALYSIS AT BAADER BANK, ROBERT HALVER, SAYING: "I expect that this additional declaration, which does not change the agreement text itself, has already been discussed with the Canadians, so I think we can now say: CETA is going to happen." But it's set off alarm bells elsewhere in Europe. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CRAIG ERLAM, SENIOR MARKETS ANALYST, OANDA, SAYING: "It just goes to show how difficult it is to make a trade deal with the EU, when so many different parties and so many vested interests have to all sign off on the same terms. People talk about the UK, for example, leaving the EU, saying 'oh we'll just sign a new trade deal with the EU and it will all be fine.' It's taken Canada seven years to get to this point." And there's still no date for a signing ceremony for this deal yet. The breakthrough after Canada's Prime Minister had cancelled his planned trip to Brussels, fearing he might be wasting his time.

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Belgium break deadlock over EU-Canada trade pact

Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 01:31