- Title: Germany's Gabriel welcomes deal on EU-Canada free trade agreement
- Date: 27th October 2016
- Summary: BARBY, GERMANY (OCTOBER 27, 2016) (REUTERS) GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND ECONOMY MINISTER SIGMAR GABRIEL WALKING TO REPORTERS / (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND ECONOMY MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING: "Of course I am pleased that the Belgians have reached an internal agreement and cleared the way for Europe and Canada. That is good. (Reporter asking how the agreement should progress further.) Now the agreement can be signed, then the European Parliament will deliberate on it and when the European Parliament approves it, it will go to national lawmakers, because parts of the agreement concern national law. But for now we have cleared a major hurdle and that's good." GRAIN SILOS (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND ECONOMY MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING: "I think we have to see it realistically. This is an agreement which affects individual countries and so individual countries have a view about it. I believe it's a very technocratic idea to believe that Brussels could decide something and all the others would just fall into line. In reality, the national politicians are the ones who have to answer the questions. In this respect, it was reasonable that there was an internal dispute in Belgium - which I think was not just about CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) - but I think we have achieved a lot and there is a lot more clarity now." SOUND TECHNICIAN'S EQUIPMENT (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND ECONOMY MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING: "No country is closer to us than Canada. Canada is more European than some European countries and therefore I think it is good to begin with Canada and create good regulations, regulations which the United States have so far been unprepared to agree on with us. That's why TTIP (Transatlantic-Trade Investment Partnership) has failed so far, whereas the Canadian agreement is good and will now happen." GABRIEL WALKING IN TO BUILDING
- Embargoed: 11th November 2016 12:05
- Keywords: CETA EU Canada trade deal Sigmar Gabriel
- Location: BARBY, GERMANY
- City: BARBY, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Government/Politics,International Trade
- Reuters ID: LVA00155S703R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday (October 27) welcomed the deal reached on an EU-Canada free trade agreement.
Belgium agreed a deal with its regional parliaments earlier on Thursday to approve the landmark trade agreement, breaking a deadlock that has blocked the pact for weeks.
Prime Minister Charles Michel said the heads of the regions had drawn up an addendum to the agreement that answered their concerns over the rights of farmers and governments - an addendum that still needs the approval of Canada and other EU states.
"Of course I am pleased that the Belgians have reached an internal agreement and cleared the way for Europe and Canada. That is good," Gabriel told reporters as he toured a starch manufacturing plant in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.
"We have cleared a major hurdle and that's good," he added.
Canada called the announcement a "positive development", a cautious welcome echoed by European Council President Donald Tusk, who chairs EU leaders' summits.
But both stopped short of declaring the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) a done deal.
Nevertheless, Gabriel said he was confident the deal would now go through, and that he hoped it would smooth the way for a similar deal with the United States, the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP).
"I think it is good to begin with Canada and create good regulations, regulations which the United States have so far been unprepared to agree on with us. That's why TTIP has failed so far, whereas the Canadian agreement is good and will now happen," Gabriel said.
Failure to strike a deal with such a like-minded country as Canada would have called into question the EU's ability to forge other deals and damage credibility already battered by Britain's vote to leave the bloc and disputes over the migration crisis.
All 28 EU governments back CETA, which supporters say could increase trade by 20 percent, but Belgium had been prevented from giving its consent because of objections led by its French-speaking Wallonia region.
Wallonia, along with the capital Brussels and Belgium's grouping of French speakers, had opposed the deal for weeks, saying it was bad for Europe's farmers and gave too much power to global corporate interests.
Belgium's Prime Minister Michel did not give detail on Thursday on how Wallonia's concerns had been allayed in the addendum. But the premier of the Flemish region, Geert Bourgeois, said the original 1,598-page text of the trade deal stood.
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