EU-Canada FTA moves one step closer
A planned free trade deal between the European Union (EU) and Canada moved one important step closer to completion on Tuesday after receiving backing from a key advisory committee.
The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was approved by the European Parliament's International Trade Committee by 25-15. The final parliamentary vote is due in mid-February.
CETA will remove tariffs on "most traded goods and services", according to a release and the deal also provides for the mutual recognition of certification for a "wide range of products".
"By approving CETA today we take a significant step forward. In the face of rising protectionism and populism, Parliament is able and willing to act on behalf of European citizens," Member of European Parliament Artis Pabriks said before the vote.
"I stand for a strong and global Europe and for open markets. Ratifying this agreement with Canada will enable trade to continue to bring wealth to both shores of our transatlantic friendship. The duty of our governments is to ensure that each and every one of us benefits from this wealth."
Spain's Federation of Fruit, Vegetable, Flower and Live Plant Grower Exporter Associations (FEPEX) said more than 90% of EU agricultural tariffs would be eliminated once the deal comes into effect.
It added Canada would eliminate all of its tariffs for fruits and vegetables, which would boost Spanish produce exports to the North American market.
EU fruit and vegetable exports to Canada totaled 78,673 metric tons (MT) in 2015, with a value of €95 million (US$102 million), according to Eurostat. Fruit represented the majority of shipments.
FEPEX highlighted some of the key exports to Canada were tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, citrus, apples, pears, plums and kiwifruit.
Canada exported 1,779MT of produce to the EU in the same year.
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