MEPs back EU-Canada trade deal

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MEPs back EU-Canada trade deal

The landmark EU-Canada trade deal which aims to boost goods, services and investment was yesterday given the green light by Members of European Parliament (MEPs) and could apply from April. 

During a plenary vote in European Parliament on Wednesday (Feb. 15), the deal was approved by 408 votes to 254, with 33 abstentions.

"By adopting CETA, we chose openness and growth and high standards over protectionism and stagnation,” said Parliament’s rapporteur for the CETA agreement Artis Pabriks, after the vote.

“Canada is a country with whom we share common values and an ally we can rely on. Together we can build bridges, instead of a wall, for the prosperity of our citizens. CETA will be a lighthouse for future trade deals all over the world.”

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”.

As part of the negotiations, the EU secured protection for more than 140 European geographical indications for food and drinks sold on the Canadian market, as well as including sustainable development clauses to safeguard social and environmental standards.

Other safeguards to ensure trade and investment on both sides have also been put in place.

There have been concerns CETA gives too much power to multinational companies and governments will not be able to legislate to protect health, safety or the environment.

“The EU 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,” says a release.

The deal could apply provisionally from April, subject to both sides completing all necessary internal procedures. However, CETA will also need to be ratified by national and regional parliaments.

Spain’s Federation of Fruit, Vegetable, Flower and Live Plant Grower Exporter Associations (FEPEX) said last month 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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