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article imageEU-Canada trade pact to be applied 'provisionally' from September

By AFP     Jul 8, 2017 in Business

The CETA free-trade agreement between the European Union and Canada will be applied provisionally from September 21, the two sides announced in a joint statement on Saturday.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who are currently at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, have agreed on the date pending full application of the agreement once it has been approved by the parliaments of all EU member states.

That approval must follow on from that previously given by the European and Canadian parliaments -- though the process could take some years.

The choice of the September date will allow "for all the necessary implementing measures to be taken before that date," according to Saturday's statement.

"The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement marks a new chapter in the relationship between the EU and Canada," the statement added.

"It is by opening up to each other, by working closely with those who share the same values that we will shape and harness globalisation," the statement went on, saying companies and citizens would both reap benefits.

Several details still require ironing out, according to comments made last month by an EU diplomat, not least the management of cheese import quotas.

Trudeau had personally buttonholed Juncker for provisional application of an accord running to 1,600 pages and hammered out over seven years "as soon as possible".

Brussels says the agreement will ultimately scrap 99 percent of customs duties between the EU bloc and Ottawa, bolstering trade by a quarter with Canada, the Union's 12th-biggest trade partner.

One sensitive issue left aside for now is that of potentially allowing multinationals investing abroad to sue a state adopting policies it perceives run counter to its interests.

The so-called Inter State Dispute Settlement arbitration mechanism is hugely controversial.

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