EU to vote on motion that could delay Canadian trade deal CETA ‘for years’

The resolution proposes that an opinion from the European Court of Justice is needed to ascertain whether the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) complies with the trading bloc's existing treaties before it can be formally ratified

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The Independent Online

The European Parliament is set to vote on a motion that could delay the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada by “years”. 

The resolution proposes that an opinion from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is needed to ascertain whether CETA complies with the trading bloc's existing treaties before it can be formally ratified. 

The treaties of the European Union are a set of international agreements between member states that outline the constitutional basis of the organisation. The motion under consideration claims there is legal uncertainty as to whether the proposed agreement works alongside these.

Emma McClarkin, Joint International Trade spokesman for the Conservative Party, said: “After the embarrassment of seeing CETA held up by socialists in the Belgian region of Wallonia, we now have the prospect of MEPs from countries that have already approved CETA throwing another spanner in the works.

”The last thing we need is for the process to be frozen for months or years while we await a legal opinion from the ECJ when the deal has already been given a clean bill of health by the parliament's own legal service.“

Urmas Paet, an Estonian MEP and his country's former Foreign Minister, told The Independent the resolution will lead to huge uncertainty. 

“It is impossible to say [exactly]. Is it 18 months or a slightly quicker process? It adds uncertainty as to when it will be enforced. 

“I would like to see CETA enter into force as soon as possible. In principle, I find it absolutely fantastic that the EU will have a deal with Canada as soon as possible. Any motion that will delay the process is not good for the European economy,” Mr Paet told The Independent

“There are of course disputes with trade. Whether it is the business of the European Union or of member states and where the balance should be.  From my point of view international trade is clearly the EU’s business,” he added.

Mr Paet added he did not think there could be any better deal than the one struck with Canada. 

If CETA is implemented, Canada would immediately eliminate €500 million (£428 million) of duties on goods originating in the EU. Nearly 92 per cent of EU agriculture and food products would be exported to Canada duty-free.

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