A free trade deal between the EU and Canada set to create jobs and boost growth was inked on Sunday, despite opposition by French-speaking Belgians.
Known as CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, paves the way for the majority of import duties to be removed early next year.
CETA supporters say it will increase Canadian-EU trade by 20 percent and strengthen the EU economy by 12 billion euros a year and Canada’s by 12 billion Canadian dollars.
“We are confident that demonstrating that trade is good for the middle classes (…) will make sure that everybody gets that this is a good thing for our economies and that it is also a good thing for the world,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, underlining that consumers and businesses are set to benefit.
The agreement reduces Canada’s reliance on the US and gives the EU a first trade pact with a G7 economy.
“We are setting standards which will determine globalization in the coming years,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.