UPDATE 4-Belgian 'Non' blocks EU approval of Canada trade deal

Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:23pm EDT
 
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* Belgium's Wallonia region remains main obstacle

* Failure would cast doubt over future trade deals

* Canada says cautiously optimistic

* Walloon premier rejects Friday deadline (Updates after meeting of Walloon parliament)

By Philip Blenkinsop

LUXEMBOURG, Oct 18 (Reuters) - EU governments failed on Tuesday to approve a free trade agreement with Canada, as continued opposition from French-speaking southern Belgium threatened the entire deal.

Almost all 28 EU governments, whose ministers were meeting in Luxembourg, now back the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which would be the bloc's first trade accord with a G7 country.

Failure to strike a deal with such a like-minded country would call into question the EU's ability to forge others, and offer a pointer to the difficulties Britain might face in seeking a new trade relationship with the EU after it leaves.

Romania and Bulgaria were still demanding Canada allow visa-free travel for its citizens. But the biggest risk to finding unanimity was opposition from Belgium's Wallonia region.   Continued...