A trade deal which was to be signed next week between the countries of the EU and Canada is headed for a collapse. The talks broke down after Belgium was unable to provide consent for the deal.
The deal which was in development for the last seven years was blocked by Belgium after it was unable to get consent from the regional parliament of Wallonia.
Canada’s Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke yesterday expressing her disappointment at the situation. She said that the EU was unable to sign an agreement with even a country like Canada which shared European values.
The deal called CETA or Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement was focused on encouraging bilateral trade. It proposes elimination of 98% of the trade tariffs between the countries.
The region of Wallonia refused to give consent because the deal is considered harmful for farmers and welfare standards. The critics think that this agreement will make for the occupation of the market spaces by foreign products, blocking the way for farmers and local producers.
The deal has been perceived as empowering multinational companies to a level, where they could even influence governments. Anti-globalisation activists have expressed similar concerns on a variety of trade agreements before.
CETA’s unpopularity has not been isolated to Wallonia; it along with the TTIP trade talks with the United States has been protested in many EU countries.
The deal was challenged in Germany’s Top court but received its backing last week. It also caused a stir at the EU summit.
The EU Commission which is responsible for EU’s international deals, has not unpicked the text in spite of the blockade. The text was decided between the EU and Canada in 2014.
The leaders have expressed their frustration over Wallonia’s delaying tactics. EU council President Donald Tusk expressed his frustration adding that the deal had taken all of 7 years to broker.