Wallonia says no to CETA

Ray Hunter
October 20, 2016

The legislature of the restive Belgian region of Wallonia voted Friday by a 46-14 margin to oppose the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and European Union.

Expressing disapproval of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the USA and the strikingly similar Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) deal with Canada, protesters marched in central Warsaw near the country's Agriculture Ministry building and prime minister's offices.

In Belgium, the national government and the dominant Dutch-speaking region of Flanders already back the deal.

"'Yes' to the strengthening of commercial links with Canada.but no to the text of the deal in its current form", Socialist deputy *Olga Zrihen*said at the opening of the often-rowdy debate.

On Friday, the Belgian region of Wallonia rejected the CETA deal. Due to the resolution, Belgium has threatened to bring down the deal as they argue that CETA gives too much power to multinationals. "But I'm confident that there are so many strong European countries, like France as we saw yesterday, Germany is fully on board, and others, that this deal is going to make it through".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week he was running out of patience after two years of delays and warned that killing the deal would send "a very clear message. that Europe is not productive". A landmark trade deal with Canada is at the mercy this week of a decision in Belgium's sub-region of a few million.

Increasingly aware that free-trade deals also create domestic losers, EU leaders plan at their October 20-21 meeting in Brussels to mix a traditional message about the benefits of open markets with pledges to uphold European social standards, according to a draft of the summit conclusions seen by Bloomberg News.

CETA can only enter into force with the European Parliament's approval.

He said "guarantees are insufficient" to protect the farming and industrial sectors.

Now, the Federation of Wallonie-Brussels parliament has voted down the deal.

Wallonia leader Paul Magnette said "we have to say no so we can negotiate" better labour, environmental and legal standards.

"More and more the European Union will see that after the Brexit vote that it's important for them to show that they are able to move ahead", Dion said on a conference call from Honduras.

Some lawmakers wore stickers condemning CETA and TTIP, the even more contentious proposed EU-U.S. trade deal.

The liberal Reformist Movement Party, MR, represented in the Belgium government, lashed out at Wallonia leaders who voted against the agreement.

Other reports by MyHealthBowl

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