France government approves Canada trade deal

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The French government on Wednesday approved a bill ratifying a huge EU-Canada trade deal which will be voted on next month by the parliament.

“The cabinet has considered and approved the bill,” junior foreign minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told reporters in Paris.

He said French exports to Canada had increased by 6.6 percent between 2017-2018 after the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) deal came into force on a provisional basis.

It has been ratified by the European Parliament, but must also be approved by each of the member states of the European Union to become permanent.

The pact removes tariffs on nearly all goods and services between Canada and Europe, which the EU says eliminates 590 million euros (890 million Canadian dollars, $665 million) in customs duties each year.

President Emmanuel Macron called the outcome from the provisional implementation of CETA “positive” last month during a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Macron said that fears that Canadian meat imports might cause problems for European producers had not materialised.

According to Canadian figures, the country has only exported 2.0 percent of its beef quota, the equivalent of 1,000 tonnes.

The French parliament will vote on ratifying the CETA on July 17 and is expected to approve it given the large majority enjoyed by Macron´s ruling Republic on the Move party.