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Trudeau signs CETA amid protests in Brussels

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Union leaders signed the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) this morning.

Liberal trade minister Chrystia Freeland commented, “It’s a great day for Canada. It’s a great day for Europe.” Former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper stated, “I am pleased to see the Canadian Government conclude the final chapter in what has been an incredible effort by so many in securing unprecedented free market access to our European allies.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has tweeted, “CETA signed. Flawed deal, bad process, no guarantee of ratification.”

This morning, CBC reports, “Even though it’s now signed, it doesn’t signal the finish line. Ratification is not guaranteed.” And the Canadian Press reports, “[The investment court system] does not take effect right away and may never take effect. A source with knowledge of the deal said on Friday that, in fact, the investor court will come into being only if no European parliament rejects it. ‘For this system to come into place, all 28 member states have to ratify it – or at least not vote CETA down’, the source said. ‘That is a process that could take years.’ If one country votes to reject the investor court, it will not form part of the Canada-EU deal. ‘It will be all or nothing.'”

The Canadian Press adds, “The Trudeau government has said many decisions are still to be made about the structure of the investor court, and it hopes that tweaks to the arrangement could satisfy all legislators across 28 states.”

The ratification process in Europe, which involves 38 national and regional parliaments, is expected to take up to 5 years.

Yesterday, CBC reported, “Freeland is expected to introduce an implementation bill before the end of the year to change laws affected by the agreement.”

The CBC highlights, “Outside EU headquarters, a rowdy group of about 250 anti-CETA protesters gathered to block the front entrance. Red paint was smeared on the building. About 15 people were removed from the protest by police.” To watch a 75-second video of European activists breaching the police barricades in front of the European Commission building, please click here.

For further analysis, please see WIN! CETA may be signed, but its investment provisions & ratification are in doubt