Canada welcomes EU free trade deal move, sees 2017 breakthrough
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Large parts of a free trade deal between Canada and the European Union should come into force next year, Canada's trade minister said on Tuesday, even though the EU's executive commission opted against fast-track approval.
"This is a really important and great next step," Chrystia Freeland said in a interview.
The commission, facing increased popular suspicion about big trade deals, said on Tuesday it would give member states' national parliaments the right to approve or reject the free trade agreement.
But Freeland said she expected the European Parliament - a separate body which groups legislators from all 28 EU nations - to ratify the deal early next year.
Under EU rules this means that around 90 percent of the agreement, which she described as a "push back against angry populism", would come into force provisionally.
Freeland and Foreign Minister Stephane Dion both plan to travel to Europe this month to push the merits of the deal, which proponents say could increase bilateral trade by a fifth.
But free trade is becoming a harder sell for governments amid a shift towards protectionism, which helped fuel Britain's vote last month to leave the EU as well as the rise of U.S. Republican presidential contender Donald Trump.
"It's important for Europe and for the world that we show it's possible to do great, progressive trade agreements," said Freeland, citing worker and environmental protections in CETA, or the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Continued...