CETA deal between EU & Canada likely to be signed after Belgium breaks blockade

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The long awaited EU-Canada trade deal known as CETA might finally be signed as the deadlock caused by the Wallonia region of Belgium might be finally broken.

A recent round of negotiations between the French speaking regions of Belgium, and representatives of Canada and EU, has led to an agreement which could make way for the held up deal.

The Belgian Prime Minster Charles Michel announced that the political leaders in the country had reached a consensus in support of the deal.

The deal was about to be signed on Thursday but Wallonia vetoed the deal. The new deal amended after the talks, still needs to be approved by the other 27 members of the EU apart from Belgium.

The Belgian government cannot sign a deal without the approval of the six regional parliaments of the state. Wallonia a traditionally socialist leaning French speaking region had been against the deal. Wallonia wanted the deal to include provisions to safeguard environmental and labour concerns.

Mr. Michel said that all parliaments would be able to approve the deal by tomorrow midnight. He said that this was an important step for the EU and Canada.

The CETA deal has been in the process of discussions and drafting since 2009. It is unlike the size of any deal the EU has ever signed before. It aims at getting rid of 98% of the trade tariffs between the 28 EU states and Canada allowing for free trade.

Wallonia’s main concern in the deal was regarding the market space provided to multinationals. The concerns were regarding increased competition between the foreign goods and domestic products. The provision to create commercial courts to handle disputes between corporations and governments was the point which had created the blockade.

The deal will likely be approved by the member states and signed soon after.