EU court rules in favour of Canada trade deal

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(L-R) European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Council President Donald Tusk and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico attend the signing ceremony in Brussels, Belgium, Oct. 30, 2016. Xinhua/EU

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The EU-Canada free-trade agreement’s provisions to protect investors do not breach EU law, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled yesterday in a major relief for proponents of the deal that came into force in 2017.

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The ECJ’s judges said that the mechanism to resolve disputes between investors and states in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada, which critics say unfairly favour multinationals, is in line with EU law.

The system of tribunals to settle disputes between foreign investors and states became a focal point of protests against the planned EU-US TTIP trade deal and CETA when EU countries were deciding whether to back the latter in 2016.

The Belgian region of Wallonia, then led by the Socialists, threatened to block the deal, but the federal government persuaded it not to do so in return for certain concessions – including a request for the ECJ to give its view.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, whose liberal MR party will be battling to stay in power in an election in May, said he was pleased with the rulings.

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