This Sunday, the European Union signed a free trade agreement. The agreement aims to generate jobs and promote growth in the two economies. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA has made headlines as there were protests in Europe against it. Some Europeans who believe that free trade is going to harm the economy and cut down jobs demonstrated against CETA. Now, the agreement has been signed by the two sides and is on its way to becoming a reality. But CETA still has to go through 40 national and regional parliaments in Europe. The trade agreement will only come into effect when that happens.
CETA Signing Finally Takes Place
The process is going to take several years. But the signing this Sunday was a crucial first step to enacting CETA. The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau together with heads of European Union institutions signed the treaty. This enables the two sides to act on a provisional implementation of the trade agreement. As early as 2017, Canada and the European Union could lift most import duties.
The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker spoke at a news conference alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He spoke in favor of globalization and free trade.
“We are setting standards which will determine globalization in the coming years. Nothing in other trade agreements will be able to remain below the level of what we have reached today with Canada.”
Said Jean-Claude Juncker.
However, some EU citizens were not happy with CETA. So much so, that they stalled the signing of the trade agreement with their protests. Until Thursday, the region of Wallonia, the southern part of Belgium was still against the trade agreement. The region has a small population that is just 1 percent of the EU population. In total, 508 million consumers in the European Union are going to be affected by the provisions of CETA. But this small percentage of the EU population had strong objections against the free trade act. Its regional parliament only confirmed the trade deal this Friday.
More Free Trade in the Future
The agreement between Canada and the European Union could be just a first installment in what looks like a series of free trade agreements. The future has a much larger and more important trade deal in place. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Treaty or TTIP is a trade agreement between the United States and the European Union. Since plans for the deal were announced, there have been numerous protests regarding TTIP. Environmental groups decry the effects that the deal would have on the planet and resources. Also, labor unions have protested as well. Their concerns are that the trade deal would lead to fewer jobs.
Those who have a protectionist view on the economy, don’t want to see these trade deals go ahead. Concerns are about the future of jobs in the national economy. Some have already written off TTIP. But the EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom has said that talks about the trade agreement are still a possibility.
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