In response to the announcement of a breakthrough on an EU-Canada trade deal, Allie Renison, Head of Europe and Trade Policy, said:
“While the protracted blocking of CETA by Belgian domestic politics highlights the waning credibility of the EU to get major trade agreements concluded, it is important to stress that the EU-Canada trade deal is clearly still in sight of being signed. The British Government must continue to strongly support a resolution to ensure its passage so that it is applied as soon as possible to the UK.
“Much of the noise around CETA can be sourced to the artificial setting of a deadline for signing the agreement, meaning that its fate was wrongly being gauged solely on the basis of whether it met today’s deadline or not. It may be that Belgium simply needed some more time to hammer out an internal compromise to get to a position where it could sign, although in itself this sets a worrying precedent.
“Today’s events show is that there is a bigger existential question facing the EU about how it can repair its credibility and competence on getting major trade deals done. CETA was seen as a test run for the US-EU agreement currently being negotiated. TTIP has attracted far more controversy across the EU, and if CETA’s woes are an indication of what to expect, then this is of real concern to business and the EU must rapidly learn lessons from this experience. This is likely on the cards in any case given there is a pending EU Court of Justice case that is expected to determine the extent of the European Commission’s competence in negotiating trade and investment agreements going forward.
“The IoD welcomes the Government’s commitment to supporting and applying EU trade deals up until it leaves the European Union. It is in the interests of business and the wider UK economy to have in place as many EU agreements as possible that can be used as a starting point for the deepening of trade ties with a variety of major and emerging markets in the post-Brexit world.”