Belgium signs the CETA deal

Belgium signs the CETA deal
By Catherine Hardy
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It had been blocked by Belgium's regional parliament in Wallonia, effectively meaning it could not be signed by the national government, nor by the EU as a whole.

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Belgium’s foreign minister finally signs the CETA deal on behalf of his country.

The troubled treaty has had a difficult journey.

It had been blocked by Belgium’s regional parliament in Wallonia, effectively meaning it could not be signed by the national government, nor by the EU as a whole.

Wallonia eventually voted in favour on Friday.

Didier Reynders said: “This is the best commercial treaty the EU has ever signed with one of its close collaborators, which shares the same values and same system of common rules.”

EU institutions got involved in persuading Wallonia to change its stance.

Once signed, the huge free-trade deal will remove the tariffs from the majority of goods traded between Canada and the 28 EU member states.

Opponents say it places too much power in the hands of multinational companies.

A second deal, the TTIP, is under negotiation to be signed with the US.

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