Trudeau to make one last CETA plea to European Parliament

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be the first sitting leader of his country to address the Parliament. [Alex JW Robinson/ Shutterstock]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will speak on 16 February before the European Parliament in Strasbourg to urge members to ratify a sweeping trade deal between the two sides.

He will then travel to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then on to Hamburg, to take part in an annual banquet.

Trudeau, who will be the first sitting Canadian leader to address the European Parliament, will be vaunting the long-in-the-making Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

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The deal also requires ratification by EU member states, which could take years. It would eliminate 98% of tariffs between the two sides.

The visit comes at a particularly sensitive time for trade talks, with the UK poised to leave the European Union, new US President Donald Trump rejecting an Asia-Pacific trade deal and demanding renegotiation of a North American trade pact, and globalisation seemingly out of favour with many Western publics.

Europe moves to pick up free trade scraps as Trump ditches TPP

President Donald Trump signed an executive order formally withdrawing the United States from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal yesterday (23 January) as Europe sniffed a chance to pick up the free trade the US is turning its back on.

But Trudeau said in a statement that “CETA sets a high standard for free trade agreements of the future”. He called it “the most progressive trade agreement ever negotiated by Canada or the European Union”.

Canada and China last year opened talks on a major trade accord, though those are expected to continue for years.

Trudeau’s meeting with Merkel will focus on “key foreign policy and commercial priorities”, according to the prime minister’s office.

Trudeau will then visit Hamburg, as guest of honour at its annual St. Matthew’s Day celebration.

Canada last week named Stephane Dion, a former foreign affairs minister, as ambassador to both the EU and Germany, where Trudeau said he would play a “central role” in trans-Atlantic issues including trade.

After Wallonia's veto on CETA, 60 academics defend EU democracy in trade

EXCLUSIVE / After the near-death experience of CETA, the controversial EU-Canada trade deal that was almost toppled by a regional government in Belgium, a group of academics has come out to defend the European decision-making process in trade policy.

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