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French parliament approves controversial EU-Canada trade deal CETA

Philippe Lopez, AFP | A man takes part in a demonstration against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in Paris on July 16, 2019.

France’s lower house of parliament approved a huge EU-Canada trade deal on Tuesday after a heated debate about its environmental impact and a rebellion by some ruling party members.

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In a vote in the National Assembly, 266 members approved the deal which has been championed by centrist President Emmanuel Macron, while 213 voted against it, including left-wingers and the far-right.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) took effect on a preliminary basis in September 2017, but it must also be approved by each of the European Union’s member states to become permanent.

The legislation in France will now head to Senate before being signed into law by Macron at a later date.

The trade deal removes tariffs on nearly all goods and services between Canada and Europe and has led to a rise of 15 percent in EU exports to Canada, according to European officials.

The French government has dismissed fears about the impact of the deal on the farming sector and the environment, saying the agreement includes safeguards and that Canadian imports have to meet strict EU rules.

(AFP)

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