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Landmark Canada-EU free trade agreement comes into effect

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Landmark Canada-EU free trade agreement comes into effect

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau looks on with European Union flag in background

Today’s provisional implementation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement  (CETA) is the culmination of seven years of negotiation between the EU and Canada.

98% of the provisions in CETA can be applied today, pending ratification by individual EU member states’ national and regional parliaments. To date, Latvia, Spain, Denmark, Croatia and the Czech Republic have all ratified the agreement.

Today’s activation notably excludes the controversial Investment Court System provision, which was sent to the European Court of Justice by the Belgian provincial parliament of Wallonia. While the court’s opinion is non-binding, a finding unfavourable to CETA would give the parliament a legitimate case to block full ratification.

As Canada’s largest trading partner in Europe, the UK has indicated its desire to transition the EU trade agreement to a bilateral one, a sentiment echoed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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Based on previous referrals to the European Court of Justice, we can expect CETA to remain un-ratified by for a number of years. Ratified or not, CETA will likely form the basis of any bilateral agreement between the UK and Canada post Brexit.

 

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