On Oct. 22, Wallonia, a French speaking region of Belgium, vetoed the CETA deal due to concerns of not having enough safeguards or protection on labor, environment and consumer standards. All 28 E.U. states must agree for the agreement to go into effect. Belgium was given a deadline of Oct. 27 to support CETA or the deal would fall through. According to The Guardian, an additional four-page text was added to the 1,600-page agreement to clarify trade terms and Belgium’s Wallonia district retracted its veto against it.
CETA is a comprehensive E.U.-Canada economic agreement to boost trade, strengthen economic relations and create jobs. Once applied, it will remove 99% of custom duties and many other obstacles for business.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed CETA on Oct. 30 between the E.U. and Canada.
"This is how we can shape globalization – through progressive, state-of-the-art trade agreements that uphold our values and set new standards for global commerce,” said Cecilia Malmström, European commissioner for trade. “Through our agreement with Canada, we build a bridge to one of our closest allies, making a real impact for our exporters, entrepreneurs and employees. Trade simply works, and we know it from experience. When we get rid of unnecessary costs and overlapping bureaucracy, companies will try out new markets and hire more people."
The trade agreement opens agricultural markets and could keep prices in Europe down and provide consumers with more choice. As a major producer of high-quality food, the E.U. will benefit from improved access to Canada’s market of high-income consumers. CETA could end nearly all Canadian duties on these products, which will benefit the E.U. food processing industry.
“The signing of CETA is a historic occasion,” said Justin Trudeau, Canadian prime minister. “This modern and progressive agreement will reinforce the strong links between Canada and the E.U., and create vast new opportunities for Canadians and Europeans alike — opening new markets for our exporters, offering more choices and better prices to consumers, and forging stronger ties between our economies.”
Now the European Parliament must give its consent to CETA for it to enter into force provisionally. Provisional application, once an agreement has been approved by E.U. member states in the council and by the European Parliament, allows European businesses and consumers to begin abiding by CETA’s guidelines.