CETA trade deal approved but 'future far from certain'

Now, parliaments in 27 out of the 28 European Union member states, except Malta's, need to vote on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) before measures on an investment court system and investment protection can go into effect. But those wins may be fewer and farther in between now, with protectionist sentiments on the rise in the United States and many European countries.

Negotiated for almost five years and four months, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada was overwhelmingly voted in by the European Parliament.

"CETA will not negatively change food standards", EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said during the debate.

The four Fine Gael MEPs Seán Kelly, Mairead McGuinness, Brian Hayes and Deirdre Clune, will voted in favour of the Trade Agreement to in their view boost trade and job creation across Europe and in Ireland.

The Canadian government has clearly gained in confidence by the signing of the CETA agreement, but there is yet a long way to go.

Approval of the measures by the EU Council would be expected tighten the rules on the EU ETS, bringing in a more rapid removal of surplus allowances from the system which could raise the cost of emitting Carbon dioxide for Europe's power plants, airlines and operators of refineries, metals and chemical manufacturing plants, among others.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is due to address the EU Parliament on Thursday in Strasbourg, signaled last October that the bloc's raison d'etre would be in doubt should CETA falter during the ratification process.

The Scotch Whisky Association has urged European Parliamentarians to ratify a new trade agreement between the EU and Canada.

The European Parliament will vote on CETA tomorrow at its plenary meeting in Strasbourg.

It will also allow Canadian branches of large US corporations to sue individual members of the EU.

SWA global affairs director Sarah Dickson said the ratification of CETA would give a boost to scotch in an export market now worth around £77 million per annum.

In 2014, Canadian exports to the European Union totaled CAN$39.5 billion, with imports from the European Union at CAN$53 billion.

Approval by the parliament allows the provisional implementation of Ceta as early as next month, although the Netherlands could conceivably still block the deal if it demands an advisory national referendum.

Under the terms of the CETA deal, most tariffs will be removed and more geographical indications (GIs) will be recognised.

Originally entitled the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), the controversial court has now been rebranded as an "Investment Court System" (ICS).

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