Oct 27, 2016
By Jane Brown
The Belgian government has reached a deal in Brussels to back the free trade pact between the European Union and Canada, reviving hope for a precarious agreement that was supposed to be officially signed today with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau scrapped a trip to Belgium late last night shortly after news that the Belgian government had failed to make decisive headway to lift a crucial veto of the trade deal by Belgium’s regional government for Wallonia.
This morning, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel announced that days of negotiations with Wallonia have resulted in a deal.
He says the new text provides guarantees for farmers and on a corporate dispute settlement system that will allow Belgium to sign the deal.
EU President Donald Tusk said he would contact Trudeau “only once all procedures are finalized” for the European Union to sign the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, which took seven years to negotiate with Canada.
A veto by Wallonia would prevent Belgium from supporting the Canadian trade deal, which requires unanimous support from the European Union’s 28 member states.
(The Associated Press)