We must overcome difficulties and implement CETA, says Conservative MEP

24-Oct-2016 @ 18:00

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

We must overcome difficulties and implement CETA, says Conservative MEP

The EU and Belgium must look at their political processes following the failure to agree the CETA trade deal with Canada by today's deadline, Conservative International Trade spokesman Emma McClarkin MEP said.

The Walloon regional parliament in Belgium is opposing CETA, despite not having expressed its concerns during the seven year negotiation process and even though the treaty text has been available for two years.

Miss McClarkin said: "The objections of the Walloon Parliament are internal political concerns and we are disappointed that they have chosen, for narrow protectionist reasons, not to allow the agreement to go ahead.

"Canada is a country with whom we share values and principles. If we cannot agree what is regarded by many to be one of the highest quality agreements ever negotiated, it questions the ability of the EU to deliver new opportunities for growth and jobs.

"Other potential trading partners will look at events of the past few days and wonder whether it is worth investing years of time and effort negotiating a deal with the EU, only for it to be held up, or even struck down, at the final hurdle.

"We support Member States' involvement in the decision making but the EU needs to spend more time engaging with them to overcome any potential objections much earlier in the process. There must be no repeat of this embarrassment."

A planned bilateral summit in Brussels on Thursday at which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was due to sign the CETA deal looks set to be cancelled while efforts continue to overcome the concerns of Wallonia's socialist government. The Belgian federal government cannot sign the deal without the consent of the country's five regional parliaments.

Miss McClarkin said it remained important that the deal went ahead in the near future.

"The treaty cannot be reopened and we do not support going back with further requests, but all measures outside of that are possible in terms of clarifying the agreement.

"CETA will eliminate 98% of tariffs between the EU and Canada, save EU exporters €500 million a year and increase trade by 20%, so we must overcome these difficulties for the sake of businesses and communities across Europe. I am confident we will."

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