The German Bundestag ratifies the EU-Canada free trade agreement after a legal challenge in Ireland halted the process here

German lawmakers approved a free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada on Thursday, taking the agreement one step closer to becoming fully effective.

he pact, officially known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), was signed in late 2016. Most of its provisions have been provisionally implemented since 2017, but the parliaments of the EU’s 27 member states must ratify the agreement before it can come fully into force.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s three-party coalition pushed ahead with ratification after the German Supreme Court rejected complaints against CETA, at least in its current form, in March.

The legislature voted 559 to 110 to approve the pact.

Another 11 EU countries have yet to ratify the deal, Verena Hubertz, an MP for Mr Scholz’s centre-left Social Democrats, said ahead of the vote in Parliament’s lower house.

“We’re optimistic that now that we’re moving forward, others will follow very quickly,” she said. “But of course … that’s way too long and way too slow in a globalized world that spins fast.”

Ms Hubertz said Germany would have to wait for the court ruling, adding that “we have eliminated concerns” about details of a dispute settlement mechanism built into the pact. Conservative opposition lawmakers argued that little or nothing had actually changed, accusing the centre-left party of delaying ratification for ideological reasons.

The deal eliminates almost all tariffs and increases quotas on certain key products in Canada and respective EU markets. The EU has said the deal will save its companies around €600 million a year in tariffs.

In Ireland, the Supreme Court ruled in November that the trade agreement with Canada cannot be ratified by the Oireachtas as it stands.

This was followed by legal action from Green Party TD Patrick Costello, who argued that an investor court system under the deal would be unconstitutional as powers would be delegated to external institutions outside the reach of Ireland’s legal system.

A study for the government here says CETA will increase growth by 0.2 percentage points through 2030. The German Bundestag ratifies the EU-Canada free trade agreement after a legal challenge in Ireland halted the process here

Fry Electronics Team

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