Belgium reaches deal to back trade agreement between Canada and the EU
The Belgian government has reached a deal to back the free trade pact between the European Union and Canada, reviving hope for a precarious agreement that was supposed to be officially signed today with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau scrapped a trip to Belgium late Wednesday shortly after news that the Belgian government had failed to make decisive headway to lift a crucial veto of the trade deal by the regional government for Wallonia.
This morning, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel announced that days of negotiations with Wallonia has resulted in a deal.
He says the new text provides guarantees for farmers and on a corporate dispute settlement system that will allow Belgium to sign the deal.
EU President Donald Tusk said he would contact Trudeau ``only once all procedures are finalized'' for the European Union to sign the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, which took seven years to negotiate with Canada.
A veto by Wallonia would prevent Belgium from supporting the Canadian trade deal, which requires unanimous support from the European Union's 28 member states.
Wallonian leaders insisted late Wednesday they would need more time to study and approve the latest compromise texts following talks with the Belgian national government, which desperately wants to sign the transatlantic deal.