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MEPs vote for free trade deal with Canada

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 15.02.2017 16:04
European Council President Donald Tusk has welcomed the European Parliament’s vote in favour of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada.
European Parliament building. Photo: Pixabay.com/hpgruesen.European Parliament building. Photo: Pixabay.com/hpgruesen.

“I welcome today's EP vote in favour of EU-Canada free trade agreement CETA,” Tusk said on Twitter.

Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, added: “Strong signal that EU welcomes free and fair trade”.

Under CETA, tariffs on most goods and services will be waived, which may see exports from the EU to Canada increase by some 20 percent, while Canada’s previously sealed market of public tenders will be opened, allowing for European investment.

CETA was signed in Canada in 2014 but could not be enforced without the green light from the European Parliament.

The proposed deal sparked protests in Europe from critics who feared it would erode workers' rights, environmental protection and food safety standards, and increase the influence of large corporations.

Late last year, Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) government said it would not ratify the deal if it were deemed “unfavourable” to Poland, with the main concerns regarding food safety standards, especially about GMO crops, and so-called investment arbitration.

But the deal passed in the European Parliament on Wednesday has replaced a controversial investor-state-dispute settlement mechanism with an investment court system.

MEPs also approved on Wednesday an EU-Canada Strategic Partnership Agreement, which complements CETA and aims to step up bilateral cooperation on issues such as foreign and security policy, counter-terrorism, fighting organised crime, sustainable development, research and culture.

CETA must be approved by the national and regional parliaments of the EU’s 28 member states to come into force. However, many of its terms will be provisionally enforced before the agreement is ratified. (vb/pk)

tags: CETA, Tusk Donald
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