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Belgian FM signs trade agreement with Canada

Saturday, October 29, 2016 - 00:39

Belgium signs its agreement to the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada, opening the way to an official signing ceremony between EU and Canada, Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders signed on Saturday the country's addendum to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada after a series of key votes in Belgian regional assemblies on Friday ended opposition that had threatened to destroy the entire agreement. Soon after the final Belgian vote on Friday evening, European Council President Donald Tusk called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and invited him to Brussels for the signing ceremony, which is scheduled for noon local time on Sunday. The addendum addresses fears that a system to protect foreign investors could strengthen multinationals. It also provides a safeguard clause for farmers. The agreement could partially enter force next year, some eight years after talks began, as long as the European Parliament also backs it. It would bring in tariff reductions before national and regional parliaments complete ratification. It could also pave the way to another much contested transatlantic trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the United States. Both TTIP and CETA have sparked demonstrations by unions and protest groups who say the agreements will lead to a 'race to the bottom' in labor, environmental and public health standards and allow big business to challenge democratically elected governments across Europe.

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Belgian FM signs trade agreement with Canada

Saturday, October 29, 2016 - 00:39