October 18, 2016 / 7:19 AM / a year ago

Belgium hopes for EU-Canada trade pact backing this week

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - The Belgian federal government hopes it can persuade regional authorities to back its approval of an EU-Canada free trade deal by the time EU leaders meet at a Brussels summit this week, its trade minister said on Tuesday.

“We are continuing to work with certain regions,” Didier Reynders told reporters on arrival at a meeting of EU trade ministers in Luxembourg. He noted that the French-speaking region of Wallonia was the main bar to Belgium giving a green light to a deal approved by the other 27 EU states and Canada.

“I hope that by the time of the summit at the end of the week we’ll be in a position to allow things to go ahead,” said Reynders, who is also foreign minister. EU leaders gather in Brussels on Thursday and are due to discuss trade on Friday.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek

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