Although 27 EU states agreed on CETA, the South of Belgium had concerns related to agricultural imports which could result in MNCs dictating terms of public policy as well as those related to dispute settlements.
Belgian politicians appear to be on the course to break a deadlock over EU-Canada free trade agreement that all 27 of EU government have supported other than Belgium.
The failure to find a breakthrough yesterday, resulted in Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to call off plans to fly to Brussels for a summit at which the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was to have been signed.
“We have a few legal issues still to be cleared up. We’ve made a lot of progress,” said Paul Magnette, a Socialist premier of the Walloon region who has led opposition to the deal.
He went on to add, “This could go very quickly with some goodwill from our negotiating partners, but any Belgian agreement has to be presented to our European partners”.
So as to allay fears that once CETA kicks in, multinational companies will dictate public policy, Prime Minister Charles Michel gathered the heads of Belgium’s regions and linguistic communities to produce a common text that takes care of a dispute settlement system and concerns related to agricultural imports.
Seven years in the making, CETA has the backing of all other nation states of the European Union other than the south of Belgium. Since Belgium runs a federal structure all states have to agree before the country can sign the pact.
Similarly, any deal agreed by Belgium will have to be also agreed by the other 27 EU states.
As per an EU official, the EU-Canada summit had been postponed, however no new date has been set.