EU, Canada agree free trade deal start

The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker talks with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) prior the beginning of the third working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 8, 2017.

:: The European Union and Canada said on Saturday they had agreed to start a free trade agreement between the two sides on Sept. 21, paving the way for over 90 percent of the treaty to come into effect.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has been championed by both sides as a landmark deal for open markets against a protectionist tide, but last-minute wrangles over cheese and pharmaceuticals were holding up its start.

“Meeting at the G20 in Hamburg, reconfirming our joint commitment to the rules-based international trading system, we agreed to set the date of 21 September 2017 to start the provisional application of the agreement, thus allowing for all the necessary implementing measures to be taken before that date,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

“It is by opening up to each other, by working closely with those who share the same values that we will shape and harness globalization,” the joint declaration said.

The agreement will enter definitively into force once all 28 EU member states and parliaments ratify it.

The EU had not been satisfied that Canada would effectively open up its markets to 17,700 additional tons of EU cheese and provide guarantees for the patents of European pharmaceuticals.

It was unclear from the statement whether the disagreements had been ironed out. Both sides had been hoping for the provisional implementation of the agreement this month.

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