Canada-EU trade talks collapse in Wallonia as Freeland walks out
Belgium prime minister phoned Justin Trudeau overnight to explore ways to salvage CETA
Last-ditch efforts to salvage Canada’s trade deal with the European Union appear to have collapsed Friday, as International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland walked out of talks with the regional government of Wallonia that’s been blocking the deal that was supposed to be signed next week.
Freeland said that the failure to come to a consensus and proceed with signing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) at the planned Canada-EU Summit next Thursday was a “missed opportunity.”
Earlier, Paul Magnette, the president of the Belgian region of Wallonia, briefed his regional parliament, saying that although talks were productive, difficulties remain and he’s not prepared to reverse the decision to reject CETA.
“We made new significant progress, especially on the agriculture issues, but difficulties remain, specifically on the symbolic issue of arbitration, which is politically extremely important,” he said in French.