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French PM, Trudeau defend Canada-EU trade pact

BI Report || BusinessInsider

Published: 12:36, 12 April 2024  
French PM, Trudeau defend Canada-EU trade pact

Photo: Collected

Prime Ministers Gabriel Attal of France and Canada's Justin Trudeau on Thursday defended a trade pact between Canada and the European Union whose ratification has been stymied in France's legislature.

The pair expressed confidence in the continued implementation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), with Attal calling it a "win-win agreement" despite opposition in his own country, reports BSS/AFP.

"The figures do not lie," the visiting Attal told a joint press conference. "Since it came into force, trade between our two countries has progressed by more than a third."

Trudeau meanwhile said Canada would continue to "demonstrate the positive impact on citizens of trade and responsible commerce between friends and allies who share the same values."

Following its approval by the European parliament in early 2017, the trade agreement has been applied provisionally since September of that year, but requires ratification in all EU member countries to take full effect.

Amid protests by farmers, France's Senate voted against it last month, in a major blow to the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

Ten European states have yet to ratify the agreement that includes preferential access to Canadian minerals, such as uranium or lithium, which are critical for energy transition and prized by Paris.

Trade between the EU and Canada has increased since the war in Ukraine, as European countries substituted Russian imports for Canadian products.

- Fighting wildfires -

The two leaders also discussed climate change and the devastating forest fires that ravaged Canada last year.

France sent 350 firefighters to help Canada battle the blazes, which destroyed more than 15 million hectares (37 million acres). Smoke from these fires billowed as far as the United States and Europe.

Trudeau announced the purchase of two Canadian water bombers by France and a deal to boost cooperation on dealing with such wildfires.

Attal also "welcomed Canada's support for Ukraine."

He headed to French-speaking Quebec later in the day for talks and a speech to the Quebec National Assembly.