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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has welcomed the European Parliament’s decision to ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and described the deal as “a complete action plan to ensure economic and responsible cooperation between countries.”

CETA was approved on February 15 by 408 votes to 254, with 33 abstentions. The vote means that the agreement could be provisionally applied from April 1, 2017.

In a speech to the European Parliament, Trudeau said: “After years of negotiations, this important trade agreement is finally crossing the finish line. And I think we can all agree – CETA was an enormously ambitious undertaking, and will prove to be one of our greatest successes.”

Trudeau added that he believes that CETA “will become the blueprint for future trade deals of this magnitude and complexity.”

He elaborated: “This agreement will result in the creation of good, well-paying jobs for middle class workers. It will put food on the table for families, and help grow and strengthen our communities. Now, let’s say you’re a budding entrepreneur with an innovative product or idea. Maybe you’re having a tough time getting access to new customers. Well, CETA has just opened the door to new markets.”

“And what if you’re a consumer looking to buy imported goods, but the cross-border costs are too high? Maybe you’ve had your eye on Manitobah Mukluks, a Canadian, Indigenous-founded company whose products are currently subject to a 17 percent tariff in Europe. Well, with the ratification of CETA, those tariffs are removed, and you, as a consumer, are paying less at the check out.”

Upon CETA’s entry into force, Canada will eliminate duties worth more than EUR400m (USD424.96m) each year for goods originating from the EU. Once the agreement is fully implemented, that figure will rise to more than EUR500m. The EU will immediately remove tariffs on 98 percent of its tariff lines, rising to 99 percent upon full implementation.

Legislation to ratify the agreement was introduced to the Canadian House of Commons on October 31, 2016. It passed its third reading on February 14, 2017, and was introduced to the Senate the same day.



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