Home Featured French senators reject EU-Canada trade deal amid farmer unrest – POLITICO
French senators reject EU-Canada trade deal amid farmer unrest – POLITICO

French senators reject EU-Canada trade deal amid farmer unrest – POLITICO

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“It is not thanks to CETA that French wine and cheese is bought in Canada, it is France’s gastronomic reputation that makes us export our wines and cheeses all over the world,” Cécile Cukierman, the French communist senator behind the vote initiative, told POLITICO ahead of the ballot.

The deal has been provisionally in force since 2017, even though 10 EU countries haven’t yet ratified it. Last month the European Commission again urged again EU countries to give it the green light.

France’s political opposition and farmer lobbies have opposed CETA for years, presenting it as a threat to French farmers. French exports to Canada, however, increased by 33 percent between 2017 and 2023, including wine (+24 percent) and cheese (+60 percent), according to data from the French foreign ministry.

“Today is a very bad day for our economy, for our business, for our exporters, for our farmers,” the country’s trade minister, Franck Riester, told senators after the vote.

The immediate consequence is that France’s lower chamber, the National Assembly, will again have its say on the deal. The Assembly approved it back in 2019, but things have since changed with Macron’s party having lost seats to opponents who oppose free trade, making the outcome of a second ballot uncertain.

The trade part of the deal will remain in force despite the vote as it falls within the exclusive competence of the European Commission. Senators meanwhile backed the chapter on facilitating investments between the EU and Canada, which will only take effect after it is ratified by parliaments in each EU country.

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